U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) welcomes the announcement of key steps taken by the Obama Administration to begin the transition to a new export control system. President Obama has issued an executive order that updates certain export and import controls that have not been comprehensively updated in 36 years are managed by federal agencies. The administration also notified Congress of the first in a series of changes to the U.S. Munitions List (USML) that advances the process of putting our new export control system in place. The administration’s notification starts the process for deploying new lists for the first two categories of controlled items, aircraft and certain engines.
Under the system in use today, New Mexico businesses engaged in manufacturing, exporting, or brokering any item on the USML must register with the State Department and pay a minimum annual fee of $2,250, whether or not it seeks to export during the year.
“These changes are important to companies in New Mexico, as 10 percent of all exports from the state must go through the current export licensing process,” said Sen. Heinrich. “For too long, burdensome export controls have limited the U.S. industrial base from reaching its full potential. We must continue to protect sensitive technologies, but by better prioritizing those barriers we will create quality jobs without costing taxpayers a single dime. These common-sense changes in policy will enable New Mexico’s companies to compete on a level playing field, broaden their customer base, and help regain America’s high-tech leadership in the world.”
The current export control system is not designed to address today’s national security challenges. A key feature of the president’s on-going export control reform initiative is dispensing with the current requirement of controlling everything equally, whether the item is an entire aircraft or a nut or bolt used on that aircraft, regardless of the individual item’s significance to national security. The present approach is harmful to the competitiveness of our industrial base, jeopardizes our smaller businesses, and impedes the ability of our allies to maintain U.S. systems they procured in order to be interoperable with U.S. forces.
As a member of the House of Representatives, then-Rep. Heinrich introduced legislation to eliminate unnecessary controls on U.S. satellite and satellite-component manufacturers. The provisions were included in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013 and were signed by the president on January 2, 2013.