WASHINGTON The Obama administration has launched a review of U.S. export controls, including dual-use technologies, signaling that it is considering easing restrictions on the export of widely available technologies.
The review accompanied an annual extension of the Commerce Department's authority to administer U.S. export controls. Congress has failed to renew the Export Administration Act since it expired in 2001, forcing an annual emergency extension by the White House.
A House panel is reviewing U.S. export controls and expects to introduce legislation renewing the law early next year.
The White House action directed the National Economic Council and the National Security Council to "launch a broad-based interagency process for reviewing the overall U.S. export control system, including both the dual-use and defense trade processes," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement released on Thursday (Aug. 13).
"The aim of the review is to consider reforms to the system to enhance the national security, foreign policy and economic security interests of the United States," Gibbs added. "The U.S. has one of the most robust export control systems in the world. But, it is rooted in the Cold War era of over 50 years ago and must be updated to address the threats we face today and the changing economic and technological landscape."
High-tech groups that have lobbied successive adminstrations to update U.S. export controls praised the move. "While license processing times have improved over the last year and a half, there is much more that can and should be done to modernize the system," Marion Blakey, president of the Aerospace Industries Association, said in a statement.