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Space Roundtable Forum

Export Controls: The Impact on Space Commerce

September 19, 2000

Space Roundtable Forum


Senator Mike Enzi, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee Subcommittee on International Trade and Finance, hosted a roundtable discussion Sept. 19 regarding space commerce and the national defense export control implications. The following are his prepared remarks.

Space Roundtable Forum
Export Controls:
The Impact on Space Commerce

Statement by
Michael B. Enzi

September 19, 2000

I welcome everyone to the Space Transportation Roundtable discussion on export controls and their impact on space commerce. I am grateful to have such distinguished participants involved in this event. I thank ProSpace, the Space Frontier Foundation and the Space Transportation Association for inviting me and my colleague Senator Johnson to be the sponsoring chairs of this roundtable. I specifically extend my appreciation to Marc Schlather, Executive Director of the Space Transportation Roundtable, for organizing this event.


About two years ago, just before I first became Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Trade and Finance, I stumbled across the issue of export controls. The Banking Committee Chairman, Senator Gramm, and I both believed it would not be responsible for us to watch our export control system be continued and modified by executive order and ad hoc Congressional action. So I, along with Chairman Gramm, Senator Sarbanes and Senator Johnson, set out to provide a comprehensive statutory framework for our dual-use export control system by reauthorizing the Export Administration Act (the EAA).Recognizing this need, the Banking Committee unanimously passed S.1712, a bill to reauthorize the EAA. Although our goal to reauthorize the EAA has not been fully realized, we certainly laid the groundwork for next year.


We are not here to talk specifically about S.1712, but I thought this brief background would provide some of you with an understanding of how and why I became interested in the issue of export controls. This may be a shock to some of you, but Congress does not have all of the answers, let alone all of the right answers. And that is why we are here today.


Everyone here knows that our satellite and space components industry is struggling with an export control system in need of improvements, even though some positive reforms are to be implemented. Instead of focusing certain export controls on those countries and products that pose the greatest national security risk, American satellite related companies have been hindered in carrying out normal business activities even with friendly countries. The net result: European buyers have labeled U.S. companies as "unreliable" because of the unwieldy system in place for satellite exports. And it doesn't stop there. American universities also face challenges. For instance, deemed export licenses are required when conducting many cooperative international scientific projects.


As a new industry, commercial space is just beginning to realize its potential. It is the fastest growing sector of America's aerospace industry. While people are most familiar with communication satellites and their growing importance to our information economy, other commercial space markets are already underway or are being developed. Some of those include remote sensing, geographic information systems and low-cost launch systems.


It is important that our export control system not discourage innovation and the development of these revolutionary technologies. We can do this while ensuring the protection of our national security interests. Export controls should not merely exist to make us feel good, otherwise they foster a false sense of security. Space commerce represents a new frontier with countless commercial opportunities. We must make sure our policies do not kill new industries as this before they even get off the ground.


It is the job of Congress to develop an effective common sense export control policy - one that protects our national security interests while at the same time allows U.S. industries to compete globally and remain on the cutting edge of research and development. The reauthorization of the EAA will go a long ways toward reaching that end. It is my hope that the discussion here today will help us take at least one step toward solving these real challenges. Thank you for being a part of today's discussion.


Participants in the roundtable included:

Senator Enzi

Colonel Dave Garner, The Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Jeff Hofgard, The Boeing Company, Director of Export Policy and Strategy

Richard Cupitt, Associate Director of The Center for International Trade and Security, The University of Georgia

Dr. William Drestler, Vice President of Research, Dean of Graduate School, The University of Maryland, College Park

Clayton Mowry, Executive Director of the Satellite Industry Association

James Muncy, Director of The Space Frontier Foundation

Marc Schlather, President of ProSpace

Eleanor Hill, of The Law Firmof King and Spalding.