[amsat-bb] New US Satellite Export Reforms Gets Positive Response from Industry

Eric Rosenberg ericrosenberg.dc at gmail.com
Mon May 19 12:37:59 UTC 2014

from Via Satellite.


Eric W3DQ
Washington, DC


New US Satellite Export Reforms Gets Positive Response from Industry

By Caleb Henry | May 16, 2014

[Via Satellite 05-16-2014]

After 15 years of restrictions and intense scrutiny, the United States 
Department of State has reclassified satellites and several related 
components so they will no longer be treated as weapons. The changes 
affect Category 15 of the U.S. Munitions List (USML), which covers 
spacecraft and related articles, by shifting most commercial, civil and 
scientific satellites and accompanying equipment to the Department of 
Commerce’s Commerce Control List (CCL).

The satellite industry has called for reforms to these policies for a 
long time, citing lost revenue and missed opportunities internationally. 
Congress transferred satellites under the domain of International 
Traffic and Arms Regulations (ITAR) after a launch failure of the 
Chinese Long March 3B carrying a U.S. payload in 1996.

With satellites treated as armaments, international trade suffered, and 
the industry atrophied. An estimated $21 billion in satellite revenue 
was lost from 1999 to 2009, according to the Aerospace Industries 
Association (AIA). This was compounded by the loss of roughly 9,000 
directly related jobs.

The new revisions first remove most radiation-hardened microelectronic 
microcircuits, taking effect 45 days after publication of the rule. 
Communications satellites without classified components, remote sensing 
satellites with certain performance parameters, and other spacecraft 
parts not specifically identified in the revised category are cleared 
180 days after publication. The U.S. government will, under certain 
conditions, allow CCL-classified satellites with some USML components to 
remain CCL-controlled. The reform is also intended to make it easier for 
the U.S. government to make use of hosted payloads on commercial 
satellites. Exports to China remain forbidden along with other select 

“[The Satellite Industry Association] (SIA) congratulates the U.S. 
government on this truly comprehensive overhaul to the U.S. satellite 
export control system,” said Patricia Cooper, president of SIA. “With a 
more modern regulatory environment for exports in place, we look forward 
to unleashing the full force of American ingenuity and innovation at 
work in the international market.”

The amendment to ITAR is part of President Barack Obama’s Export Control 
Reform (ECR) effort. With a few exceptions, items not subject to the 
export control jurisdiction of ITAR fall under the Department of 
Commerce’s less strict Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The CCL 
is included under EAR, which still imposes license requirements on 
exports, re-exports and retransfers, but with less stringency because 
they are no longer considered easily repurposed for military applications.

The AIA applauded the reclassification, calling the previous 
restrictions “excessive,” and encouraged greater cooperation between 
Congress and the Obama administration to continue making U.S. companies 
more competitive internationally. The Department of State and the 
Department of Commerce published final rules facilitating the transfer 
of satellites and related components on May 13, 2014, but acknowledged 
the need for an interim period.

“The Department [of State] has committed to reviewing during the six 
months after the publication of this rule whether further amendments to 
the USML controls on civil and commercial remote sensing satellites are 
warranted, and seeks additional public comment on this matter,” the 
agency said in a statement released by the Federal Register.

Comments during the interim period close on June 27, 2014. The effective 
date is scheduled for Nov. 10, 2014.

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