The following are comments made by Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. Enzi is chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on International Trade and Finance and author of the proposed Export Administration Act. Enzi's comments are based on a proposal released today by President Clinton who seeks to increase the speed of computers (measured in millions of theoretical operations per second, MTOPS) allowed to be exported.
"This goes right to the core of what we are doing with the Export Authorization Act, solving export problems while maintaining national security. I am pleased to see the basis for the president's changes are based on the same concept of mass market status included in our draft bill, but whether the new MTOPS levels are appropriate is difficult to say since we were not party to the analysis. We will be researching this ourselves.
"The president's intention to work with Congress to adopt an approach that does not rely on ad hoc judgements is specifically why we are intent on reauthorizing an EAA that will stand the test of time. We fully intend to continue working with the Administration in this regard.
"We are not against reducing the 180 day Congressional review period, but I would question whether the president's proposed 30 days is enough for congressional review if we are not included in the analysis used to arrive at the new levels."
"The president and I share the same desire to end unrealistic and unreasonable export control of computer technology, but the catch is always figuring out what is reasonable and who should make that determination.
"The president has reformed export controls three times since 1993 and if the current process remains in place, no doubt will have to continually update and change controls. With these changes come the often competing interests of industry, Congress, the White House and other players. I would prefer we set a solid system in place now, a system with the elasticity to adapt to changes on the spot instead of going through a laborious process every few years. I believe we have laid the groundwork for just such a system with the working draft of the Export Administration Act. This is the holistic approach we should be concentrating on right now.