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Sen. Bennet Introduces Satellite Export Control Reform Bill

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 24-May-2012
Updated: 24-May-2012 08:49 AM

Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced legislation Tuesday to ease export controls on commercial satellites.   The House passed a bill last week that included similar language.

Bennet's bill, the Safeguarding United States Leadership and Security Act of 2012 (S. 3211), would restore to the President the authority to transfer certain satellites and their components from the strict U.S. Munitions List (USML) and its International Traffic and Arms Regulations (ITAR) to the less restrictive Commerce Control List (CCL) and its Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  Congress took away that authority in the FY1999 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after it concluded that two U.S. satellite manufacturers had aided China's missile development efforts by advising them on the causes of launch failures of U.S.-built satellites on Chinese rockets.

Last week the House passed the FY2013 NDAA including a provision that similarly would restore to the President the authority to decide which of the two export control regimes governs commercial satellites.   Satellite exports to China and several other countries will remain off limits under both bills. 

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