|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||CONTACT: CHRISTI HARLAN|
|Thursday, September 23, 1999||202-224-0894|
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, voted 20-0 today to approve the Export Administration Act of 1999. The Act provides the legal framework for the Department of Commerce to implement export controls for both national security and foreign policy reasons. The bill incorporates 17 of the recommendations contained in the Cox Report from the House Select Commit-tee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China.
"I believe this bill represents a successful compromise between our goal of promoting the sale of high-tech items around the world – items whose technological superiority represents the foundations of the economic strength of America – and our goal of protecting national security by controlling technology that can be used for purposes that would be opposed to the interests and security of the United States," Gramm said.
"It's a tough task, trying to blend national security with economic growth, but I think we've done it successfully in this bill," he said.
Gramm praised the provisions of the bill that would exempt from controls certain products available in the mass market or in foreign markets, under specific conditions.
"I believe the heart of the bill is the mass-marketing exemption that recognizes that as soon as technologies with national security implications are mass marketed – once you can buy them at Radio Shack, once they're being sold by Dell Computer – it's too late to put controls on them," Gramm said.
The bill increases penalties for criminal and civil violations of the Export Administration Act. Criminal penalties for corporations include fines of up to $10 million or 10 times the value of the export; for individuals, fines could reach $1 million or 10 times the value of the export. Life imprisonment is possible for multiple violations. Civil penalties include a fines of up to $1 million per violation and denial of export privileges.
"We have greatly enhanced penalties, and I believe we have produced a very good bill," Gramm said. "No one is more responsible than Senator Mike Enzi, chairman of the subcommittee on international trade and finance. I want to congratulate him on his leadership and his willingness to spend tremendous amount of time on this bill. I also want to congratulate Senator Tim Johnson, ranking member of the subcommittee, for his valuable contributions to this bill."
The committee accepted an amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that would require the Commerce Department to report to Congress on the effectiveness of tracking the end use of dual-use technology. The report would cover the activities of the Commerce Department's overseas investigators; the types of goods or technologies subject to end-use verifications, and the ability of department investigators to detect the illegal transfer of high-risk dual-use goods and technologies.