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Manufacturing Coalition Says Export Control System Hindering US Competitiveness


A coalition of technology and manufacturing associations is pushing for an overhaul of the nation's export control system. The group claims current U.S. regulations aimed at keeping sensitive technology out of the wrong hands is having an adverse effect on America's ability to compete globally. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.

While technology continues to move forward at a rapid pace, the U.S. regulatory process to export new technologies has not. William Primosch at the National Association of Manufacturers, says on average, it takes two months to get export approval for technologies that have both defense and civilian applications.

"And it's become more acute in recent years because of both the increase in volume of licensing applications for dual-use technologies and military products but also because of increased competitiveness in the global marketplace."

The Coalition for Security and Competitiveness says that last year system delays resulted in a backlog of 10,000 cases. Mark Esper is with the Aerospace Industries Association. "We've got to be able to move these things a lot quicker and do a lot better job. If not, in the long term, what we suffer will be losing our edge when it comes to our technological competitiveness."

The coalition is urging President Bush and Congress to overhaul export controls to open up new business opportunities for U.S. companies.

Storme Street, the vice president for government relations at Electronics Industries Alliance, says the group is also proposing the addition of more licensing officers to deal with an estimated 65,000 applications per year. "What were asking for is a series of changes, primarily sort of process changes that go across the board that will make the entire export control system more transparent, more efficient, and gives more certainty to companies when they're getting into the process."

The group says its recommendations will help streamline the regulatory process to improve U.S. competitiveness without compromising national security. The Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration says he welcomes the coalition's suggestions.

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