October 20, 1999
Adam Smith (D-WA) and Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) are seeking to speed up the review process of the sale of U.S. high-powered computers.
According to current law, a Congressional review of high-powered computer exports must wait six month. In a letter today to Floyd Spence (R-SC), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Kennedy and Smith have asked for a 30-day review to streamline the process and maintain U.S. technological leadership and competitiveness in the industry.
“The current six-month lag in our policy is obsolete and puts our computer industry at a clear disadvantage,” said Kennedy. “We must realize that this industry rolls out a new generation personal computer every three months. To delay product delivery may result in irrecoverable market losses for U.S. companies.”
On June 22, 79 Members of Congress sent a letter to President Clinton urging him to relax export controls. Recognizing the need to calibrate the policy, the President proposed a revision to U.S. export controls on computers on July 1, 1999.
The President submitted a report to Congress that justifies and spells out the proposed revisions on July 23. Any adjustment of the licensing threshold must wait 180 days before taking effect.
“Changing the review period from six months to one month is not a question of national security; rather, it is about eliminating unnecessary red tape. Right now, Congress spends thirty days to review foreign sales of an F-16 fighter plane, and forty-five days to review an entire military installation closure,” explained Smith. “I think we can determine whether or not we can export a Macintosh PC in thirty days.”
Kennedy and Smith pointed out that as more Members of Congress become aware of the 180 day delays in the export adjustment policy, they will want to see the process streamlined.
Along with Kennedy and Smith, ten of the Democratic colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee signed the leter to Spence and Congressman Ike Skelton (D-MO), the Ranking Member of the Committee: Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA), John Larson (D-CT), Jim Maloney (D-CT), Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), Martin Meehan (D-MA), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Baron Hill (D-IN), Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Robert Andrews (D-NJ), and Robert Brady (D-PA).