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Commerce Department Implements New Export Control Rule to Enhance National Security, Facilitate Trade

Locke signs document while others look on

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Major step forward in President’s reform initiative to modernize export control system

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the next step in President Obama’s export control reform (ECR) initiative aimed at strengthening U.S. national security and ensuring the competitiveness of American companies abroad.  The Department will implement today a new license exception, Strategic Trade Authorization (STA), that will facilitate exports between the United States and partner countries while enhancing the competitiveness of key industrial base sectors.

The Export Control Reform Initiative aims to build higher fences around a core set of items whose misuse can pose a national security threat to the United States.  By facilitating trade to close partners and allies, the Commerce Department can better focus its resources ensuring the most sensitive items do no end up where they should not.

“This is an important first step towards creating a system that addresses the serious threats we face in today’s changing economic and technological landscape. This new license exception will eliminate the need for U.S. exporters to seek licenses in nearly 3,000 types of transactions annually, affecting an estimated $1.4 billion in goods and technology,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “The new license exception will allow us to focus our resources on items that pose a significant national security risk and help facilitate U.S. exports.”

“This is a significant step in President Obama’s Export Control Reform Initiative which enhances our national security and makes U.S. exporters more competitive by easing their licensing burden for exports to partners and allies,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Eric L. Hirschhorn.

Items such as electronic components for use on the International Space Station, cameras for search and rescue efforts for fire departments, components for civil aviation navigation systems for commercial aircraft, airport scanners, and toxins for vaccine research will be eligible for the new license exception.

At the same time, the license exception establishes new safeguards designed to ensure Department of Commerce approval is obtained before controlled items exported under the exception are re-exported outside of authorized destinations.

To see a copy of the regulation published in the Federal Register Notice, go to


The President has directed a broad-based interagency reform of the U.S. export control system with the goal of strengthening national security and the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors by focusing on current threats and adapting to the changing economic and technological landscape.