PublishedMarch 16, 1999

Black Joins in Plea to President for Modernized Computer Export Controls

Washington, D.C., March 16, 1999 – Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) President and CEO Ed Black has joined 14 computer industry executives in calling upon President Bill Clinton to take a leadership initiative in updating the export control thresholds for computer exports.

“Export control policies need to both promote U.S. national security and maintain U.S. technological leadership but should by no means stand in the way of innovation and economic progress within our industry,” said Black.

“Achieving these mutually important objectives requires that the Administration, the Congress and the private sector to work together.”

CCIA is an international, nonprofit alliance of computer and communications firms.  Its membership includes CEOs and senior executives representing, among other businesses, computer equipment manufacturers, software providers, communications and networking equipment manufacturers, and telecommunications and online service providers.

In a letter to President Clinton yesterday, Black joined industry executives from leading computer corporations and trade associations in asking for Clinton’s leadership in modernizing computer export control policies, specifically for many developing countries.  In the letter, Black and CEOs such as Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems, Inc., Louis Gerstner, Jr., of IBM Corp., and Lewis Platt of Hewlett-Packard Co. praised Clinton’s prior leadership, in 1993 and 1996, in updating controls to keep pace with rapid technological advances and competitive changes in the global marketplace.

Controls should be updated, the executives said, “to reflect (1) substantial technological advances since the export control thresholds were raised three years ago, (2) the projected technological advances expected to occur within the next twelve months, (3) the commercial availability of competitive computer systems from foreign manufacturers and (4) the globalization and commoditization of information technology driven by worldwide Internet growth.”

The letter continued, “We are committed to protecting U.S. national security interests, and a key part of this commitment is our support for effective controls on computer exports that threaten those interests.  Updating export controls, as needed, is an important factor in ensuring they will remain effective and meaningful.”

For years, CCIA has asserted forcefully that, in order to maintain the international competitiveness of our industry, it is essential to reduce the delays, confusion and costs that continue to plague the export licensing process with respect to computer sales.  Consequently, CCIA has consistently led industry efforts to raise export control levels and prohibit the reimposition of export controls on previously decontrolled products.

CCIA is a founding member of the Computer Coalition for Responsible Exports (CCRE), which is educating Members of Congress and working with the Clinton Administration to make sure export controls are limited to the very highest end computers and not severely restricting the bulk of computer exports.  The authors of the yesterday’s letter are also members of CCRE.

“CCIA’s view remains that export controls must focus principally on those limited exports which have significant national security applications and which are not so widely available from foreign sources that U.S. controls are ineffective,” said Black.  “We will continue our historic leadership role in this area.”


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