June 16 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. exempted additional items from export-control requirements for sales to 36 allies, a step that the Commerce Department estimated will affect the sale of $1.4 billion in products and technology a year.
The final regulation, issued yesterday, implements a proposal announced by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in October 2009 for exports to countries such as Germany, Japan and Canada.
"The new license exception will allow us to focus our resources on items that pose a significant national-security risk and help facilitate U.S. exports," Locke said today in a statement.
The U.S. requires exporters to obtain a license to sell civilian technology, such as aircraft parts and encryption software that also can be used for military purposes. The restrictions vary based on U.S. relations with the foreign government, and those rules are administered by the Commerce Department and State Department.
Under the news rules, almost all items monitored by the Commerce Department won't need a government license for sale to the 36 allies. The exporter will still need to obtain a pledge from the company buying the item that it won't in turn sell to a party in a non-allied nation.
In December, the administration proposed that 125 nations be allowed to buy a smaller pool of items with a lower risk of military application without a license requirement. The government reworked that proposal and cut the list to eight nations.
Obama Export Goal
The process to obtain such export licenses slows commerce and harms the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers, Locke has said. President Barack Obama has made easing those rules part of his effort to double U.S. exports in five years.
The Obama administration also is in the midst of reworking the list of items that require a license. That proposal is set to be released in the coming months.
The 36 nations covered by the eased restrictions are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The eight nations eligible to buy some low-risk products are: Albania, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Malta, Singapore, South Africa and Taiwan.
China isn't affected by this change.