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Administration Moves Forward with Export Control Reform Process

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Administration Moves Forward with Export Control Reform Process

President Obama took two actions on March 8 that seek to advance a comprehensive effort launched several years ago to reform U.S. export controls. The ultimate goal of the administration is to create a new export control system with a single licensing agency administering a single list of controlled items, operating on a single IT platform, and enforced by a single export enforcement coordination agency. The newly-announced initiatives include an executive order that updates delegated presidential authorities over the administration of certain export and import controls under the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 as well as the first in a series of notifications to Congress regarding certain changes to the U.S. Munitions List involving dual-use products that the president believes no longer warrant stricter military controls.

A White House fact sheet indicates that the executive order updates delegated authorities consistent with the upcoming changes to the U.S. export control lists by:

• consolidating and delegating to the secretary of State all statutory responsibility for maintaining registration and licensing requirements for brokering of defense articles and services in either the State or ATF lists, which both control defense articles and services under the Arms Export Control Act;

• eliminating possible “double licensing” requirements by allowing the State Department to authorize any spare parts, accessories and attachments accompanying items that may have moved to the Commerce Control List (items licensed or otherwise approved by State under this delegation will remain subject to DOC jurisdiction);

• directing the DOC to establish procedures for notifying Congress of approved export licenses for a certain subset of items that are moved or that may move from the USML to the CCL; and

• delegating to the attorney general the functions previously assigned by Executive Order 11958 to the secretary of the Treasury and making various other updates to ensure that the authorities to administer U.S. export controls are current.

Separately, the president has notified Congress of his intention to move to the CCL certain aircraft and gas turbine engines currently controlled under the USML. The White House indicates that once the congressional notification period concludes these changes will be published with an effective date of 180 days after publication. The remaining changes to the USML, which involve a broad range of products, will be published on a rolling basis throughout this year. The White House fact sheet notes that the ultimate goal of this process is to “update every category of defense articles to better meet current national security and economic challenges.” 

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