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The Obama administration and Congress have undertaken the immense task of reshaping the U.S. export control system. The administration plans to consolidate all export control functions into a single locus within the federal government within one year—far different from the multiagency, fragmented system in place today. If successful, these changes
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Following a keynote address by Representative Donald A. Manzullo (R-Ill.), member of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, panelists examined whether these proposed changes will improve the United States' ability to prevent sensitive products and technologies from getting into the hands of rogue states and terrorists, open more markets for U.S. high-tech manufacturing, and ensure that U.S. companies remain competitive in difficult economic times.
|9:15||Introduction:||Danielle Pletka, AEI|
|Keynote Speaker:||U.S. Representative Donald A. Manzullo (R-Ill.)|
|10:00||Panelists:||Joseph Benkert, Cohen Group|
|Remy Nathan, Aerospace Industries Association|
|Christopher R. Wall, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP|
|Moderator:||Neena Shenai, AEI|
American Enterprise Institute
Washington, DC 20036
WASHINGTON, DC, July 14, 2010--In response to the Obama administration's renewed efforts on export control reform, experts identified key problems the current export control regime causes and examined whether the Obama team's solutions will help the United States from both a national security and economic perspective. The keynote speaker, Representative Donald A. Manzullo (R-Ill.), highlighted the basic economic problems that export controls currently cause for U.S. manufacturing and gave several examples of Congress's efforts to ameliorate these problems, such as reducing the time needed for trade licensing and increasing transparency and efficiency for defense-items licenses. He also stressed that delaying reform would hurt manufacturing now and in the future. Following the congressman's speech, experts Remy Nathan, Christopher R. Wall, and Joseph Benkert explained the national security benefits of both simplifying the system and making it comprehensive, moving away from a system that fails to distinguish between friends and foes; developing a system designed for risk management; and getting technology to our soldiers in a timely manner. Above all, panelists stressed that export control reform is an issue of national importance and that reforms must not put U.S. national security at risk.
- "One of the major problems facing not only American manufacturers but also their customers and international partners is obviously the regulatory barriers associated with buying and selling in an increasingly globalized market. The current U.S. export control policies are indisputably impacting the high-technology industrial base and American manufacturing competitiveness, export base, and job creation. So we are in the midst of the big fight going on, and this is not really the issue of exports. The issue that we're talking about is the survival of American manufacturing technology. That's how serious this is."
--Representative Donald A. Manzullo (R-Ill.)
- "There's a second major function for export control and that is a facilitation function or a facilitation task. And that is, it also needs to permit us to export and to transfer technology and equipment and services that promote more effective partnerships with our friends and allies that help build the capabilities of our allies, friends, and partners that promote inter-operability and collectively make us all safer and collectively support our national security. I think sometimes in the debate on the national security dimensions of export control, this facilitation function, this important function of export control in promoting capabilities of friends and allies and partners that promotes our own national security, gets lost.
--Mr. Joseph Benkert, Cohen Group
- "Job creation is certainly a collateral benefit and a very valued one, but the reasons for reform are more broad-gauged, lasting more generations than simply job creation in the here and now. But it's also, I think, important to recognize that there's nothing sacred or untouchable about the current system. The system as I mentioned has grown up over the years by accretion, by bureaucratic creak, by responses to crises of the moment, by congressional committee jurisdiction issues. There's nothing that says we have to have three or more agencies with three overlapping sets of regulations dealing essentially with the same range of issues. . . . The rules are so arcane that is really does take a specialist to understand them and that shouldn't be the case. It should be the case that companies, even small companies, should be able to export without having to get tangled up in the web of cumbersome rules. And it is possible, by simplifying the rules, to get to a place where you can manage the risk. There will never be a situation where there is no risk, but that risk can be managed in a way that will enhance national security.
--Christopher R. Wall, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
- "What we have right now is a recognition--because of the way the world is right now--that export control modernization is a fundamental prerequisite for national security. . . . Fundamentally, what we're talking about here, what we're asking is, will changing the system benefit the American warfighter? If the answer is yes, then it's a good change. If the answer is no, it's a bad change. . . . Why is it good for the warfighter? To mention the point about access to technology for our closest allies--we are in combat. Our allies are sharing the battlefield with us. It is important that they have same or similar capability so that we can have force multipliers. It is important to be able to have a situation where you can have coalition forces operating so you don't have U.S. forces operate to achieve our share of national security and foreign policy objectives. That's a basic one right there. But another one that hasn't been mentioned yet is the fact that in order for the industry that I represent to support our warfighters, we actually need to be able to export.
--Remy Nathan, Aerospace Industries Association
Joseph Benkert joined the Cohen Group in September 2009 after a career of public service as a Navy officer, a civil servant, and a Senate-confirmed political appointee. Most recently, he was assistant secretary of defense for global security affairs, having been confirmed by the Senate to that position in July 2008, and was asked to stay on until July 2009 to help facilitate the transition to a new administration. Prior to his confirmation as assistant secretary, Mr. Benkert served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for global security affairs, where he was responsible for a broad range of defense-related issues, including building the capability of U.S. partners and allies, improving security cooperation and foreign military sales, and working on technology security policy and export-control matters. His responsibilities included oversight of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and the Defense Technology Security Administration. During his tenure as assistant secretary and principal deputy assistant secretary, he substantially improved the responsiveness of the foreign military sales system for Iraq during a critical period in training and equipping Iraqi forces; helped significantly expand Department of Defense authorities and funding for security cooperation; and led the department’s involvement in numerous complex cases before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
Donald A. Manzullo was first elected in 1992 to serve the people of the sixteenth congressional district of Illinois. In the 111th Congress, he sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he is the top Republican on the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment and a member of the Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade. He continues to serve on the Financial Services Committee, where he sits on the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises and the Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade. As chairman of the House Committee on Small Business from 2001 to 2006, Mr. Manzullo held more than sixty hearings on the state of manufacturing in the United States and introduced numerous pieces of legislation to make U.S. companies more competitive so they could expand and create jobs. Mr. Manzullo is the cofounder and cochairman of the House Manufacturing Caucus and the Congressional Export Control Working Group.
Remy Nathan is assistant vice president for international affairs at the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). In that capacity, he is responsible for monitoring, analyzing, and recommending actions on issues as they affect international commercial and military aerospace markets. Mr. Nathan oversees international trade and market access, export financing, international negotiations, export controls, foreign military sales, and international cooperative programs. Prior to joining AIA, Mr. Nathan was responsible for supporting U.S. companies active in Malaysia, as well as the Defense Working Group of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.
Danielle Pletka served for ten years as a senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Since coming to AEI, Ms. Pletka has developed a conference series on rebuilding post-Saddam Iraq, directed a project on democracy in the Arab world, and designed a project to track global business in Iran. She recently edited a publication on dissent and reform in the Arab world and coauthored a report on Iranian influence in the Levant, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Ms. Pletka comments frequently on foreign and defense policy issues on television and in major American newspapers.
Neena Shenai joined AEI as an adjunct scholar in April 2009. She focuses on the intersection of U.S. international trade and national security policy. Previously, Ms. Shenai was a senior adviser in the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Before serving in the George W. Bush administration, she was an attorney in the international trade group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Ms. Shenai also worked in the Rules Division at the World Trade Organization and was a law clerk for Judge Evan J. Wallach at the U.S. Court of International Trade.
Christopher R. Wall is a senior international trade partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. His practice focuses on export controls, foreign investment, international trade proceedings, and policy. He regularly advises clients on commercial and military export licensing and enforcement matters, economic sanctions, national security (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) reviews, and investigations and other trade policy and legislative matters. Previously, Mr. Wall served as assistant secretary of commerce for export administration during 2008–2009. Mr. Wall works closely with U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Commerce, Department of State, Department of Defense, Treasury Department, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Mr. Wall is a frequent lecturer at both domestic and international conferences and has testified as an expert witness before Congress on foreign investment.