Reauthorization of the Export Administration Act
The last incremental reauthorization of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA) expired on August 20, 2001. While technically it has lapsed the EAA remains in effect through Presidential Executive Order. During the past several years there have been minor attempts to enlist support for a more substantial reauthorization but none have progressed.
Both industry and government believe that a comprehensive revision of the EAA remains necessary and long overdue. The EAA is a Cold War statute. With the dramatic changes in world trade since the early 1990's there is a strong need for a modern export control law that will provide U.S. businesses an updated legal framework in which to operate. New concerns about national security and the spread of terrorism have added new factors for government to consider in formulating a new statute. Recently fines for export violations have been dramatically increased through amendments to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). These changes do not diminish the need for comprehensive revision that produces a U.S Export Administration Act more aligned for a 21st century economy.
Impact to business
Outdated portions of the current statute require licensing of down-level technologies both for actual exports and deemed exports (release of information to foreign nationals in the U.S.). Lack of coordination between agencies when exercising their jurisdiction results in delays and possible lost business opportunities.
Action needed by Congress
Since new legislation continues to be needed, and since the future of US controls on Information Technology exports is so important to our business, IBM and industry associations should remain focused on this issue and take steps to ensure that any new legislation recognizes the realities of the fast-paced, highly-competitive, global market.
When the Congress takes up Reauthorization of the Export Administration Act, it should consider the economic impact of export controls as well as national security concerns. Controls should be developed where they can be effective and with a well defined purpose.