AIA Supports Lifting of Export Restrictions on U.S. Space Systems

aialogosmTogether with Ex-Im Reauthorization later this year, the Interim Final Rule will open the door to increased international space-related sales.

Statement by Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Marion C. Blakey 

Arlington, Va. — The Aerospace Industries Association applauds the Administration’s issuance of revisions to Category XV of the U.S. Munitions List (USML) that will end excessive restrictions on space systems like commercial satellites and related articles.  After a six month delayed implementation, the interim final rule will remove many of these less sensitive technologies from the USML and place them under the more appropriate controls of the Commerce Control List.

In a 2012 report, AIA estimated that U.S. manufacturers lost $21 billion in satellite revenue from 1999 to 2009, costing about 9,000 direct jobs annually once USML controls were applied to commercial satellites.  This rule implements legislation passed by Congress in early 2013 allowing the Administration to once again have discretion to control these technologies for export.

This revision, together with the re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank by Congress later this year, would dramatically level the global market playing field and greatly enhance the prospects for U.S. companies selling space related goods and services overseas.  As indicated in our new report on ExIm Bank, the projected international market outside the United States for satellite manufacturing and launch services through 2021 is $132 billion, with developing markets in South America and the Middle East experiencing a steady increase in growth.  Ex-Im Bank increasingly provides the export financing that helps U.S. space manufacturers compete on a level playing field for foreign customers.

Both actions are required for the United States to maintain a strong industrial base, support our efforts in manned space flight and boost space-related jobs.  In 2012, the Administration’s budget request for 2013 non-classified military space programs was $8 billion.  Through sequestration-related cuts that number has been reduced $7.2 billion – a 10 percent reduction even as potential adversaries continue to grow their space investments and capabilities.  While government spending on space has declined, the space market is rapidly changing with new opportunities in commercial space emerging.  It therefore has become even more important to increase the space sector’s sales in the commercial arena and enhance its global competitiveness.

AIA expresses its appreciation to the Administration and Congress for the removal of these stringent export controls on essentially commercial space technologies, and encourages them to work together again to make our companies and their space products and services more competitive in the international marketplace by supporting the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank.