Industry & University Groups Oppose DEAC Recommendations

On February 15, 2008, twelve industry groups (listed below) issued a letter to the Secretary of Commerce offering their "preliminary reaction" to the report by the Deemed Export Advisory Committee (DEAC) issued on December 20, 2007. The signatories to the letter were: the American Electronics Association (AeA), American Council on International Personnel, Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), Coaltion for Employment Through Exports, Computer and Communications Industry Association, Emergency Committee for American Trade, Information Technology Industry Council, International Safety Equipment Association, National Council on International Trade Development, National Foreign Trade Council, and U.S.-China Business Council.

In the letter, the groups note a "marked disparity between the DEAC's analysis of the difficulties of regulating the transfer of technological knowledge in a globally interconnected world," an analysis they largely endorse, and the specific recommendations for a new approach to controlling the transfer of controlled information to foreign nationals while in the U.S. -- which they believe would be "difficult to translate into regulations, burdensome for U.S. companies' compliance programs and ultimately counterproductive to the U.S. national interest."

Specifically, the groups claimed that:

  1. Controlled technologies would not be refined
  2. More foreign nationals would be subject to controls
  3. Recommendations would harm U.S. technological leadership

In conclusion, the groups stated, "We urge the Department to go back to the drawing board and work closely with industry in developing an approach that will produce a more balanced result."

Similarly, on February 20, 2008, the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) submitted a letter to the Secretary of Commerce expressing their views on the findings and recommendations of the DEAC report. The groups stated that they strongly agree with the DEAC's principal conclusion that ". . . the existing Deemed Export Regulatory Regime no longer effectively serves its intended purpose and should be replaced with an approach that better reflects the realities of today's national security needs and global economy."

In the letter, the groups endorsed and specifically highlighted the following points:

  1. Too many technologies are subject to deemed export controls and the list of covered technologies should be drastically reduced;
  2. Each technolgoy on the CCL should "sunset" automatically after a period of one year, unless there is explicit action to retain it on the list following a review process; and
  3. They agree wtih the DEAC recommendation to eliminate any distinction between research products and knowledge regarding equipment needed to conduct the research.

The letter then goes on to state the groups' serious concerns over thefollowing DEAC recommendations:

  1. They urge Commerce to regject the deemed export decision process construct proposed in the report -- specifically, as with the industry groups, they disapprove of the proposed "loyalty" assessments, which they claim would raise very serious policy, practical, and legal issues for universities;
  2. They are concerned about the impact of loyalty assessments and broad-based background checks will have on reviews of deemed export license applications; and
  3. They reject the DEAC's proposal to change the definition of fundamental research.

In conclusion, they state that they find the report to be well-considered and contains many helpful findings, but they urge Commerce to seriously consider the concerns outlined.