WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks at a committee hearing on modernizing export controls:
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
“I was happy to join with you a few weeks ago in introducing the Export Control Reform Act in a bipartisan way and to me that’s been a hallmark. As we’ve said so many times of the way this committee operates in a bipartisan way. Wish that more of the committees in this Congress would operate that way, but I’m very pleased that we do.
“I’m pleased we’re following up with this hearing, which will help bring members of the committee up to date on our system for controlling the export of dual-use goods and technology.
“And it isn’t something we talk about a lot, but oversight of the export of dual-use items—that is, items that have both military and commercial applications—is an important part of our committee’s jurisdiction.
“In my view, it’s just as important as our work regulating the export of military items. A few decades ago, the defense sector nearly always drove the development of high-tech, which later ended up in the commercial sector. Today, the opposite is often quite true. High-tech in the commercial sector is now often the precursor of advanced weapons.
“So your bill, Mr. Chairman, will help us take a fresh look at our export control system—to bring it up to date with the modern reality of the way these technologies are developed and sold. And it would give us an updated charter that grapples with the global risks of sensitive technology falling into the hands of our adversaries.
“So, this update is long overdue.
“As was mentioned, previous law was last revised in 1979, in the depths of the Cold War and it’s replete with out-of-date provisions that don’t reflect national-security provisions today.
“It also expired in 2001. That means the authority for granting export licenses is no longer based in statute, but relies on temporary emergency authority—temporary authority that is now nearly two decades old. Last year, some 34,000 licenses were processed for exports of sensitive technology.
“And if you ask me, this isn’t something we ought to be doing willy-nilly. We need a sound, updated, and permanent statute. And that’s why, Mr. Chairman, I was so happy and proud to join with you on this.”
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