Commerce Secretary Locke's Remarks at BIS' Update Conference Published

On August 30, 2010, the Commerce Department published the prepared remarks of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke for the Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS) 23rd Annual BIS Update Conference to be delivered on August 31, 2010.

In his remarks, Secretary Locke stated that, "We are taking important steps towards streamlining and simplifying our export control system to make it more transparent, and to enable exporters to quickly know exactly what can and cannot be exported, and where products can and cannot go. The first step to make this happen is to ensure that the Commerce and State Department control lists clearly lay out which products are controlled, and by which agency."

"To do this, we are working to make both the Commerce Control List and the Munitions List 'positive lists.' What this means is that we'll have two lists that classify and control items based upon specific characteristics, such as by size or by wavelength, or by the ability to operate under extreme atmospheric conditions."

"And, when this process is done - creating a 'bright line' between the two lists - exporters will be able to know which agency has jurisdiction over their products."

"An additional step will be to divide each control list into a three-tiered structure. Think of the tiers as shelves in a cabinet:
    ·    The top tier - or the highest shelf - will be reserved for our most sensitive items, ones made in the U.S. which have high value military or intelligence capabilities;
    ·    The middle tier - or a more accessible shelf - will hold somewhat less sensitive items, and will be products that are available almost exclusively from our multilateral partners and allies;
    ·    The lowest tier will be reserved for items that are less sensitive, and which are more broadly available."

"Once all of the items are placed into a tier, a corresponding licensing policy will be assigned to ensure appropriate agency review.
    ·    For the top tier, a license will generally be required for all destinations; 
    ·    Many of the items in the middle tier will be eligible to be exported to allies and most multilateral partners under a license exception or general authorization;
    ·    And for items placed in the lowest tier, licenses will typically not be required."

"O[f] course we will continue to maintain robust and comprehensive sanctions against countries like Iran, North Korea and Cuba."

"In the final stage of export reform, we plan to merge the two lists into one - and we will continue to work with our colleagues on Capitol Hill to try to make this happen."