NAICU Washington Update

Administration Announces Revisions in Export Controls

September 02, 2010

President Obama has announced plans for comprehensive changes in the current export control system. The announcement followed a year-long review of the system that concluded the current system is "overly complicated, contains too many redundancies, and, in trying to protect too much, diminishes our ability to focus our efforts on the most critical national security priorities." 

Currently, a number of laws control the export of sensitive goods and technology for reasons of national security, foreign policy, antiterrorism, and nonproliferation.  These laws provide for the issuance of a license before certain items can be exported.  In some cases, a license is also required for certain foreign nationals to use such technology in the US.  Foreign nationals are frequently engaged in campus research activities, so colleges and universities have been particularly interested in addressing the system's ambiguities and inconsistencies.

One of the first steps under the president's plan is to establish an Export Enforcement Coordination Center charged with coordinating enforcement across all relevant departments and agencies.  Ultimately, the administration will seek the authority necessary to consolidate export controls under a single licensing agency, and a single export enforcement coordination agency.

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