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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 30, 1994

Statement by the Press Secretary


Today the President announced another step in U.S. efforts to reform the export control system. From the outset, this Administration has been committed to combatting the proliferation of dangerous weapons and sensitive technologies, while at the same time ensuring that American workers and firms remain the most competitive in the world. Our policies seek to balance these goals. As global technology advances, export controls must be updated, in order to remain focused on those items that still make a difference to programs of proliferation concern. To promote U.S. economic growth, democratization abroad and international stability, we actively seek expanded trade and technology exchange with nations, including former adversaries, that abide by global nonproliferation norms.

As of April 1, 1994, we will liberalize licensing requirements on the export of nearly all civilian telecommunications equipment and computers that operate up to 1000 MTOPS (million theoretical operations per second) to civil end-users in all current COCOM-controlled countries except North Korea.

This action is consistent with our national security requirements, because we are retaining individual licensing requirements for high-end computers and for transfers to military end-users. We are not changing our nonproliferation controls, which require a license for any export that would contribute to a program of proliferation concern.

Last year, the Commerce Department received approximately 25,000 export license applications. With these and other changes announced by this Administration, it is expected that the number will be cut by nearly half. When this Administration came into office, certain basic personal computers, such as IBM PCs and Apple McIntoshes, were still being controlled. Last September, we took the first step to liberalize licensing requirements for over $30 billion worth of computer exports.

Today's decision is compatible with our national security and nonproliferation objectives. By liberalizing licensing requirements on items that routinely are granted licenses, we will concentrate our export control efforts on denying technologies that still make a difference to the development of dangerous arms. Most of the items currently controlled by the United States will remain subject to licensing requirements, including dual use goods and technologies controlled due to their use in chemical, biological, nuclear, advanced conventional weapons and missile delivery systems.

The members of COCOM have agreed to end the Cold War regime effective tomorrow. The end of the Cold War and the disinte- gration of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact led us and our allies to the view that COCOM's strategic rationale was no longer tenable.

In its stead, the COCOM members agreed to work together toward a new, more broadly-based arrangement designed to enhance transparency and restraint in conventional weapons and sophisticated technologies to countries whose behavior is cause for serious concern and to regions of potential instability. The new arrangement will thus have a completely different purpose than COCOM. It will seek to put in place multilateral approaches to controls aimed at the threats we face today. We hope that Russia will become a founding member of the new regime. We are working to achieve this.

While the specific procedures of the new regime are still being developed, COCOM member governments have agreed to maintain the capability after April 1 to control on a national basis to any destination items previously contained on the COCOM lists (industrial, military, and atomic energy) while new control lists and arrangements are being finalized.

As we look ahead, there is much work to be done with other governments. We must continue to work to establish a regime to control sensitive exports to countries of concern and to regions of potential instability. Here at home, we will work with the Congress to pass an Export Administration Act that brings the export control system in line with the new challenges we face to our national security and economic competitiveness.