Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement regarding Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ speech today recognizing the importance of export control reform:

"I am pleased to see that it remains a priority for the Obama Administration to make progress on reforming our export controls, which currently undermine our national security by making it difficult for U.S. companies to compete internationally.

“Restricting U.S. companies from competing internationally threatens to erode our country’s position as a leader in military and dual-use goods and technologies. That in turn hurts the innovation and viability of American industry and may one day make us reliant upon international companies for these vital technologies within our defense apparatus. That undermines our national security.  

"To be clear, we must not pull back all restrictions on military and dual-use exports. What we must do is strike a balance between more stringently protecting information and goods that would otherwise expose our national security and allowing U.S. companies to compete with goods and technologies that are readily available and legally traded on the global market.  That is why I’ve been working in Congress to support the kind of comprehensive reforms announced today by Secretary Gates.  These reforms seek to strike that balance.  They aim to strengthen our export control regime and protect our national security by streamlining the system.

“My hope is that the Administration will continue to both consult Congress and those who use the system as they work to implement reforms and build a better system.  The status quo not only hinders U.S. companies, but creates the real possibility that we may one day have to rely on foreign companies for our defense needs.

“Today’s speech by Secretary Gates is a promising sign that the Administration recognizes the serious problems with our current export control regime and is committed to a solution.”