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May 12, 2008 

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Calls for Repeal of ITAR

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is now an issue in the 2008 presidential campaign. This past weekend, George Phillies, who is seeking to become the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate, issued a press release saying that the ITAR "is completely out of control" and calling for the ITAR to be "repealed". While Mr. Phillies is not my choice to be president, this press release raises a number of interesting issues and should generate some lively debate.

George Phillies for President 2008


ITAR: American Subsidy Against American Competition

Worcester, Mass, May 10: Libertarian Presidential candidate George Phillies today condemned ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) export restrictions as "a highly effective American subsidy for foreign manufacturers," and said they should be repealed.

"ITAR makes sense if you believe that America has a monopoly on high-tech engineering and research," Phillies said, "and if you believe that foreigners are not smart enough to solve problems until told the answers. Indeed, under ITAR an American may come into violation of the 'deemed export' rule simply by saying the wrong thing to a foreigner."

"Foreigners are as smart as we are," Phillies said. "The result of ITAR is that foreigners are highly motivated to replace American high-tech products with foreign equivalents. For example, in 2005 French firm EADS Sodern dropped their American star tracker components, in favor of
European equivalents. They did this because they were building components for a satellite, the Apstar 6, for Red China, and American components could not be used."

"What were the results? The Chinese got the same access to the technology. European research got extra investment. The French are replacing their American-component star tracker with an all-European unit. American small business has been shut out of the market. Permanently."

"Then there is massive waste to satisfy the letter of the law," Phillies continued. "The wonderful Boeing 787 is built from 'black aluminum'--carbon composites. The same material is used in the B-2 bomber. Twenty years ago, B-2 research showed how long you could store certain materials. Before the 787 could use those materials, Boeing had to repeat the research, not to learn something new, but to be able to prove that their knowledge didn't come from a military program. That's a total waste of investors' money.

"Like most bad government programs, ITAR is completely out of control. Thanks to ITAR, some American manufacturers don't have to fear terrorist attacks on their foreign sales. ITAR means they don't have them in the first place, because it's easier to buy from Europe. The Libertarian
solution: Let free trade work. Repeal the law."


Editor's note: The press release contained links to the following articles as sources:

Source on the Star Tracker

Source on Boeing


Mr. Phillies is not the Libertarian Party's candidate for president. He is presently campaigning to become that party's candidate.

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