Washington, D.C.,  July 1, 1999 – Reacting to President Clinton’s decision to revise export controls on computers and semiconductors, the Computer & Communications Industry Association offered praise for the White House decision.

This morning President Clinton issued a statement announcing that the Administration had decided to raise existing export control levels on sales of computers to countries of proliferation concern and other nations with lesser national security fears.  These changes follow extensive inter-agency review by the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and State, and are meant to address advances in technology consistent with U.S. national security concerns.

“CCIA is pleased that the President has taken this action,” said CCIA President and CEO Edward J. Black.  “While it is nearly impossible for our government’s bureaucracy to keep pace with advancements in technology, this is a good first step in averting a potential train wreck for industry and for Federal regulators.”

CCIA is an international, nonprofit alliance of computer and communications firms.  Its membership includes CEOs and senior executives representing a wide range of businesses, including computer equipment manufacturers, software providers, communications and networking equipment manufacturers, Internet companies, and telecommunications and online service providers.

The changes announced by the President included raising the licensing levels on “Tier II” countries (those presenting low proliferation risk) from 10,000 MTOPS (Millions of Theoretical Operations Per Second) to 20,000 MTOPS.  Exports to Tier III countries, which present some proliferation risk and include countries such as China, India, Israel, and Pakistan, will be regulated at 12,300 MTOPS for civilian end users (up from 7,000) and 6,500 MTOPS for military end users.  Companies would have to notify the Department of Commerce ten days prior to shipment of any computer above 6,500 MTOPS to a Tier III country.  Changes in Tier III civilian controls take effect immediately, but current law requires a six-month congressional layover before the other Tier III changes are in force.  Control levels on semiconductor chips and microprocessors were also relaxed from 1,200 to 1,900 MTOPS.

“Without these changes, our industry and our country would soon face serious problems in maintaining our ability to dominate the global computer market,” said Black.  “This action gives us a temporary reprieve, but only if it can be implemented sooner than the statutory six-month layover elapses.  We are heartened that the President has also committed to reexamining these levels at the end of this year in anticipation of the next generation of computing technology, which will be released next year.  We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to maintain a sensible and effective system of export controls.”

 

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