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September 06, 2007 

Export Controls Discussed at ComDef 2007 Conference in Washington, DC

Export controls were on the agenda of yesterday's ComDef 2007 Conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The panelists at the conference included Beth McCormick, Acting Director of the Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA); Pierre Chao, Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Jeremiah Gertler, Vice President of the Aerospace Industries Association; Andrew Radcliffe, Counselor at the British Embassy; and Brigadier General Mirco Zuliani, Defense Cooperation Attache of the Embassy of Italy.

Reuters reports that Ms. McCormick told the audience that Israel has greatly improved its export controls laws on technology. The article states that that Ms. McCormick also said that Israel's export controls system would "meet any international standards" and that she has "a very high level of confidence" in the effectiveness of the export-control process now in place among Israel's ministries of defense, foreign affairs and industry. She also welcomed new laws that impose substantial penalties for violations of regulations. Israel recently passed a new export control law that is intended to strengthen Israel's existing export control regime.

With respect to prospects for export control reform in the U.S., Defense News reports
that the panelists indicated "that the atmosphere for changing U.S. regulations governing arms exports has never been better . . . but the time to accomplish reforms may be short." The article quotes Mr. Gertler as saying that “the administration has welcomed suggestions for change” and there is “there is openness to reform” at various levels of the U.S. Government. He also said that Congress is “now is more willing than at any time in my memory” to consider export control reforms. However, Mr. Chao warned that export control reform in Washington, DC "may have a limited lifespan" due to the upcoming elections.

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