PublishedJune 18, 1997

CCIA: “Don’t Turn Back the Clock on Computer Exports”

(Washington, DC) — The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) is urging members of Congress to vote against an amendment proposed by Representatives Floyd Spence (R-SC) and Ron Dellums (D-CA) which would reimpose export controls on high performance computers. The amendment, to be added to the Defense Authorization Act, would reverse, at least partially, the important decontrols of high speed computers in place since 1995.

“It would be futile to turn back the clock on technology,” implored Ed Black, CCIA President. “It would simply be an outrageous, regressive policy to attempt to control technology that was determined to be widely available two years ago.”

CCIA believes that the Spence-Dellums proposal poses a serious competitive threat to U.S. computer manufacturers. Two years ago, the decision to decontrol high-speed computer exports recognized both the technological advancements of our industry and the widespread availability of sophisticated computers worldwide. The policy was based on an independent study commissioned by the U.S. government to determine what level of computer technology existed outside our borders and what level needed to be controlled for national security purposes.

“If the U.S. were to impose this policy reversal on its computer manufacturers, the action would have little, if any, effect on foreign sources of high speed computers,” Black continued. “The real impact of this policy would be an immediate business disadvantage for American companies in relation to their foreign competition — without providing any enhancement to our national security,” he said.

“It makes no sense to change a law just because it has been violated. Any company that violates existing export control laws takes a significant risk of an assortment of penalties and fines. CCIA urges Congress to allow for the enforcement of existing law and to oppose any efforts to unnecessarily restrict the export of computers.”

CCIA is an association of computer and communications industry firms, as represented by their most senior executives. Small, medium and large in size, these companies represent a broad, cross-section of the industry, employing over a half million workers and generating annual revenues beyond 200 billion dollars.

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