AIA Hails Milestone in Export Control Reform

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AIA PR — November 07, 2011 — Draft revisions to Category VIII (military aircraft and associated parts and components) of the U.S. Munitions List released by the Obama administration today constitute a major milestone in the ongoing effort to control more appropriately exports to our allies of sensitive technology.

“AIA has advocated for years for export control reforms that could better serve U.S. national security, foreign policy and economic interests,” said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “Throughout this reform process, the Obama administration has been focused on national security above all else and it has yielded good results.”

Despite a cumbersome and outdated export control system, the aerospace and defense industry has consistently delivered the largest manufacturing trade surplus of any sector, with more than $77 billion in exports in 2010 and a surplus of $51.2 billion. Defense trade operating under improved, appropriate scrutiny supports interoperability with our close allies and partners, reduces unit costs for our own military and helps support a defense industrial base facing significant budget cuts.

“Our industry is responsible for providing our men and women in uniform with an unparalleled technological edge on the battlefield,” Blakey said. “We have no interest in any revisions to the export control system that would compromise that advantage.”

Critical to the success of this initiative is creating more appropriate controls for low- and no-risk technologies captured on the USML that are indistinguishable from commercially available technology. The proposed revisions to Category VIII replace vague regulatory language with greater specificity for items remaining on the USML and the creation of new, stronger controls for items moved to the Commerce Control List—a proposal that AIA made early in the Obama administration.

“It’s imperative for the administration, Congress and industry to work together to streamline trade with our close allies and partners while continuing to deny access to sensitive U.S. technology by our adversaries,” Blakey said. “We welcome the opportunity to provide comments on how to improve the proposed revisions.”