“Catch All” Provision in New Rule Would Undercut Multilateral Export Controls
on Duel-Use Technologies
Washington DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA Engage joined 21 other leading U.S. business organizations calling on the Bush Administration to reconsider moving forward with new export control regulations. At issue is a proposed rule to impose additional licensing requirements and controls on the export of U.S.-origin dual-use items and technology to some 19 countries, including China.
In a letter to top Administration officials, the business groups pointed out that existing mechanisms already allow the U.S. to control the transfer of all militarily-significant items to the countries in question. “Adding a ‘catch-all’ control would not contribute to U.S. security,” the groups stated. “Given the widespread availability of most dual-use items and technologies, unilateral U.S. restrictions would only widen the disparity between U.S. export controls and those of other governments, including our closest allies, undercutting the goal of multilateral cooperation,” the letter continued.
The letter was sent to National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Portman, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
“The framework already exists for adequate control of duel-use products. A unilateral attempt by the United States to broaden the scope of these controls is counterproductive and will only hurt U.S. interests,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch, who also serves as Co-Chairman of USA Engage.
If the Administration pursues the new rule, the business groups outlined four principles that they believe must be followed:
1. Any new U.S. licensing and export controls should be consistent with those promulgated and implemented by other Wassenaar Arrangement member governments.
2. The scope of any new U.S. licensing and controls should be limited to those items and technologies that the government has informed exporters would directly and significantly contribute to new military capabilities.
3. All items that are to be subject to new licensing and controls must be explicitly identified and listed.
4. The foreign entities that are the target of any new licensing and controls must be explicitly identified.
A copy of the letter is available at http://www.nftc.org/default/deemed%20export/BIS%20Catch-all%20Ltr%20Hadley%209-21-5.pdf.
The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.
USA*Engage (www.usaengage.org) is a broad-based coalition representing Americans from all regions, sectors and segments of our society concerned about the proliferation of unilateral economic sanctions at the federal, state, and local level. Established in 1997, USA*Engage leads a campaign to inform policy-makers, opinion-leaders, and the public about the counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions, the importance of exports and overseas investment for American competitiveness and jobs, and the role of American companies in promoting human rights and democracy world wide. USA*Engage promotes responsible alternatives to unilateral sanctions that advance U.S. humanitarian and foreign policy goals, such as intensified U.S. diplomacy and multilateral cooperation.