Opening Statements of Committee Members

Prepared Testimony of Subcommittee Chairman Michael B. Enzi (R-WY)

Hearing on the Reauthorization of the Export Administration Act

10:00 a.m., Wednesday, January 20, 1999

Good morning everyone. We are pleased to have Under Secretary for Export Administration, William Reinsch here today.

The purpose of today’s hearing is to begin building the record in order to reauthorize the Export Administration Act (EAA). The Act, which was based on legislation dating back to 1949, expired in 1994. Despite several updates of the statute, the first being in 1979 and then again in 1985 and 1988, the Act still has a Cold War focus. The President has maintained the Act through executive orders issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. During the Cold War, the Act was used to restrict the export of goods and technology to the Soviet bloc through a complex and sometimes burdensome licensing system spearheaded by the Department of Commerce with input from the Defense, Justice, and State Departments.

The Act provides for export controls for national security and foreign policy purposes, as well as short supply purposes. Throughout the Cold War the United States coordinated export controls for national security with its military allies through a multilateral control regime, CoCom, the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls. These controls of dual-use technologies, such as high speed computers, assisted NATO efforts to maintain a military edge. With the fall of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe, our European allies questioned the need for the continued restrictive monitoring of all exports. A much weaker Wassenaur Arrangement was adopted in 1994 that allowed for “national discretion” in export licensing.

We must seek an export control regime that balances our national security concerns with the realities of the global marketplace. The more globalized the world becomes, the more foreign entities will have the opportunity to become alternative sources of technology and equipment. In other words, if we don’t export the technology, someone else will who doesn’t face the licensing restrictions imposed upon U.S. exporters.

We need an export control regime that is supported by our allies with a licensing system that is standard operating procedure — without the gray areas that cloud the current decision making process. Collective action is needed against the export of sensitive goods and technology.

Finally, the debate will obviously touch upon encryption policy and the export of high performance computers. These serious issues deserve thorough debate.

Reauthorization of the Export Administration Act will require the cooperation and coordination of interests among members of the Banking, Foreign Relations, Commerce, and the Armed Forces committees. It will also require serious dialogue across party lines and with the Administration. I plan to proceed in a deliberative manner. My first step will be scheduling stakeholder meetings. I want to hear and consider the concerns of all interested parties prior to drafting a bill. These meetings will be scheduled over the next two weeks.

I look forward to beginning the debate today and working with my colleagues to reauthorize this most important Act.

Home | Menu | Links | Info | Chairman's Page