Export Controls Reform Update

By:  Dr. Leslie “Les” Bowen

Earlier this year, I was appointed by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to serve on the President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration (PECSEA). PECSEA is a subcommittee of the President’s Export Council tasked with providing industry input on export control reform (ECR), a priority for the Obama Administration in their goal of enhancing U.S. export competitiveness. Small business has strong representation on the PECSEA – my guess is that about a third of its thirty-odd members are from small businesses.

After several meetings of the PECSEA this year, I am pleased to report that export control reform continues apace, despite the loss of two of its principal champions, Defense Secretary Gates and Commerce Secretary Locke. Undersecretary Eric Hirschhorn, head of the Bureau of Industry and Security, continues to champion the effort – you can read more about the goals and approach to ECR here.

There are four pillars underpinning the export control reform effort: development of a single control list, establishing a single licensing agency, creating a single IT system for license processing, and better coordinated export control enforcement. Of these, one of the most significant is the establishment of a single control list, which involves transfer of items from the U.S. Munitions List (USML) to the Commerce Control List (CCL) as well as creating tiers  for export items based on their military significance. Several categories in the USML already are moving through the review process in preparation for Congressional review.

It is important that you read up on export control reform and learn more because your voice in support of ECR needs to be heard as the revised regulations are forwarded to Congress for review over the coming year. As more and more small businesses enter the exporting arena, this is going to become a more significant small-business issue.

Please click here for more on the President’s Export Council and the PECSEA.