Export control systems should be modernized to improve performance
and competitiveness in the world defense markets by implementing
a modern system that will be more efficient, predictable and
transparent. In an open letter to President George W. Bush,
the newly formed Coalition for Security and Competitiveness
outlined several proposals to modernize the export regulation
The coalition recommended the implementation of more efficient
export control regulatory management, by identifying and safeguarding
the sensitive and militarily critical technologies essential
for US defense, facilitating defense trade and technological
exchange with allies and trusted partners, promote greater multilateral
cooperation on mutually agreed export control.
to the letter, these proposals can be implemented by the Executive
Branch under existing statutory authorities. "Security
and competitiveness go hand in hand," said National Association
of Manufacturers President and CEO John Engler, "The international
marketplace is changing rapidly with new competitors emerging
in both developed and transitioning economies. We need a modern
export control system that recognizes this new environment and
enables U.S. companies to compete and continue their technological
leadership." Said Engler.
The current system regulating the export of defense and "dual-use"
items (i.e., those with both civil and military application)
is administered by the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce,
respectively, but often involves other federal agencies. The
Commerce Department processes more than 18,000 authorizations
per year. The State Department processes more than 65,000 licenses
each year, a figure that has been increasing about 8 percent
annually. Some cases take months to process, causing a detrimental
impact on allies, trading partners, and exporters in general.
Last year, the State Department had a 10,000-case backlog that
is still being whittled down. Among the coalition's recommendations
to improve the current system, while maintaining effective controls
on sensitive items, are hiring additional licensing and agreements
officers to ease processing delays and developing new types
of authorizations for exports.