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January 31, 2008 

Politco Provides Behind-the-Scene Look at Efforts Leading to Issuance of Export Controls Directives

In an article entitled "High-tech lobby notches victory", today's The Politico, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the efforts leading to last week's Export Controls Directives issued by President Bush. The article notes that:

The directives, announced by the State and Commerce departments, were the result of a yearlong campaign waged by a coalition of powerful business interest groups that lobbied the White House.

And though the reforms are relatively minor, they represent the biggest victory for business on export control in decades of concerted lobbying.

With that notch in the win column, industry groups — the National Association of Manufacturers, Aerospace Industries Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce among them — are now looking to claim credit.
The article notes that a lot of the credit for the directives goes to David McCormick, who served as Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security and as Deputy National Security Advisor to the President for International Economic Affairs, before assuming his current post at Treasury.

National Association of Manufacturers President Gordan England is quoted as as saying that McCormick "had the right background and position to deal with reform, and Bush tasked him with moving it through." The article also notes that Engler has suggested that McCormick "deserves a 'bureaucrat of the year' award for his effort in pushing through the reforms . . ."

Finally, the article correctly asks how useful these directives will actually be in reforming the dual-use and military export controls and licensing process. The article quotes Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), who serves as the Chairman of the House Foreign Affair's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade and held an export controls oversight hearing last July, as saying that:
"It looks like the administration has finally taken some steps in the right direction and that it takes the issue of export controls seriously . . . however, many of these initiatives are not actually policies to be implemented; they are really just instructions to solve this or that specific problem."

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