SBEA Export Controls Teleconference Recap

On Thursday, Jan. 27, SBEA hosted a teleconference call to discuss the Department of Commerce’s proposed rules related to the administration’s effort to reform the export control system. The small-and mid-size exporters in attendance heard from Kevin Kurland, Director of Office of Technology Evaluation (OTE) at the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).


Director Kurland spent time on the teleconference explaining how his office is the focal point within BIS for analyzing the impact of export controls on U.S. competitiveness and the capabilities of the U.S. industrial base to support the national defense.


He works to maintain and enhance national and economic security by: conducting primary research and analysis on critical technologies and defense-related industrial sectors; gauging the effectiveness of the dual-use export control system on U.S. economic interests; investigating the effects of imports on national security; analyzing foreign availability of critical products and technologies; and determining if measures are needed to protect the U.S. economy from supply shortages.


In late-2009, the President directed a broad-based interagency review of the U.S. export control system, with the goal of strengthening national security and the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors by focusing on current threats, as well as adapting to the changing economic and technological landscape.


As a result, the administration initiated an Export Control Reform Initiative (ECR Initiative), which is tasked with fundamentally reforming the complex and cumbersome export control system. The ECR Initiative, which is not related to the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI), is designed to enhance U.S. national security and strengthen the United States’ ability to counter threats such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


As part of that initiative, Director Kurland discussed two proposed regulations during the call which would reform the U.S. Munitions List (USML) and Commerce Control List (CCL), in accordance with the ECR Initiative.


The USML proposal would authorize certain unlicensed export  to: a group of 37 allied and partner countries of most items on the CCL; and a larger group of countries of less sensitive, basic items for civil end uses. The CCL proposal is a request for comment on how to clarify the list of controlled items making them more “positive” and how to tier the lists taking into consideration the military or intelligence significance of an item and foreign availability information.


Director Kurland encouraged participants to review the notices closely and to provide comments by the February 7, 2011 deadline. Details about the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative and these proposed rules are available here.


Our moderator for the teleconference was SBEA member Jeff Gilling, President & CEO of Diamond Antenna & Microwave Corp., who encouraged participants to get active and join the Small Business Exporters Association as it helps small business increase their export sales, cut their costs, lower their risks, reach government officials when they need to, and most importantly stay informed.