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US bill to ease export rules on commercial satellites

US: The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) has congratulated the US Congress for passing this year”s National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) that reforms the export control framework for satellites and related items. The satellite export control reform provision in the NDAA reverses a 1998 requirement to treat exports of satellites differently from those of other high-technology products, a reform that SIA has sought for over a decade. The legislation will provide a more even playing field for US satellite companies, spurring economic and job growth and bolstering the leadership of the US space community for many years.

“By repealing an outmoded law from more than a dozen years ago, Congress has significantly aided the competitiveness of the US satellite industry, a crucial driver for the success of the US space and technology sectors. The provision passed in the NDAA will remove the legislative mandate that required one-size-fits-all regulation for satellite trade. This mandate caused unintended harm to the health of the US space industry and our nation”s security,” said Patricia Cooper, the President of SIA. “The industry is gratified by the tireless work of the legislative, technical, and policy experts from an unprecedented bipartisan collection of advocates from the Administration, House of Representatives, and Senate, all of whom deserve credit for this major step in sustaining US space leadership. We at SIA look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to implement these vital reforms in 2013.”

The law that required that satellite items had to be uniformly regulated as munitions harmed the US satellite industry”s international standing, dampened investment and innovation in the nation”s space manufacturing sector, and deterred training and advanced research in space technologies to the detriment of our national security. By passing the Fiscal Year 2013 NDAA, Congress and the Administration have taken the first step needed to remedy these negative impacts and restore the United States as a dominant player in the global satellite marketplace. Simultaneously, the Administration will retain the power to protect sensitive US satellite technologies, with continuing support from industry.

The leadership and technical expertise of the Obama Administration was vital to enacting satellite export control reform. Their recommendations contained in the Final Section 1248 Report to Congress in April 2012 provided a strong recommendation for satellite export control reform, a thorough technology analysis, and detailed guidance on how to sensibly and safely regulate satellites and related items. The Report itself and countless discussions with Congressional members and staff provided added confidence in the path toward reform. SIA thanks the officials at the Departments of Defense, State and Commerce, the Intelligence Community, and the National Security Staff of the White House for their commitment and leadership on this critical issue to right-size satellite export control regulation.

Source: SIA