U.S. to liberalize export controls to boost sales to India

U.S. to liberalize export controls to boost sales to India

Exploring avenues to boost its stagnant exports, the U.S. is mulling a complete overhaul of its export control policies this year, which should pave the way for sale of more high-technology goods to India and China.

While visiting China last month, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said “We are reviewing the entire list of our export control system as some of the protections and restrictions make very little sense,” raising hopes among Chinese officials for acquisition of some of the latest US technology, blocked by Washington over fears of intellectual property rights.

The U.S. government is loosening controls over commonly available high-tech goods, but will give more protection to the sensitive technologies that are important to U.S. national security, Locke said. “Currently, less than 1 per cent of US exports to China require a license. Of those that do require a license, 98 per cent are approved. Streamlining items on the export control list will cause the license to be issued more quickly,” he was quoted by the official media.

After many months of pressing its case with the Obama administration, the Government of India can expect  good news regarding export control restrictions imposed  on sensitive, dual-use items of high-tech trade and on legitimate government institutions such as the Indian Space Research Organisation. “I expect that there will be some positive announcements to be made before the President’s visit [in November 2010] — hopefully well before [that],” said Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia in Washington this week.

Robert Blake, chief State Department official for India

He also admitted that the U.S. export control regime was “in many cases outdated,” and in the case of India, the U.S. was taking “a particularly close look at the Entities List.” Mr. Blake noted that many entities had already come off the “Entities List” — a list of organizations with which U.S. companies cannot trade or can only trade under restrictions — over the last few years and “now there is a focus on entities like ISRO and the Defense Research and Development Organization.


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