SEMI Hosts Export Control Seminar with U.S. Federal Government Officials


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SEMI Hosts Export Control Seminar with U.S. Federal Government Officials

In partnership with SIA and TechAmerica, SEMI hosted a seminar with top government officials in San Jose on July 15 to discuss the ongoing efforts to reform the Federal Export Control system. Leading a delegation of officials from both the Department of Commerce, as well as the Department of Defense ,were Kevin Wolf, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration, and Todd Willis, Dual-Use Licensing, Licensing Directorate at the Defense Technology Security Administration (DTSA) within the U.S. Department of Defense.

Both Mr. Willis and Assistant Secretary Wolf made presentations outlining the current structure of the U.S. export control system, and then talked to the invited crowd of nearly 50 people from across the industry about the administration’s efforts to reform the system. In a sign that these officials are open to the concerns of industry, they also took questions from the audience and engaged in constructive dialogue with the participants.

One reason to be hopeful that meaningful change can be enacted in the export control system is that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other Administration officials have strongly backed the initiative. Secretary Gates himself has emphasized that the purpose of these reforms is to enhance national security given widespread agreement that the current system is harming U.S. interests since it was created in the Cold War era and has not been adapted to meet current threats. In addition to numerous other reports, a recent National Intelligence Estimate found that the current export control system poses a threat to U.S. national security.

The administration is working towards revealing a draft of the reform in the near future. While the details of the reform remain unclear, this is the first serious effort to reform the export control system. Many of the industry participants remarked that it was refreshing to have an open conversation with government officials regarding export controls and to feel like they were being listened to and understood.

For more information, please contact Mr. Jamie Girard, SEMI North America Public Policy, at jgirard@semi.org.

August 3, 2010