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Bill Aims To Ease US Satellite Exports (May 7)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.---The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) and the Space Foundation today announced their support of legislation introduced by Representatives Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) which would return export licensing authority for commercial communication satellites to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The "Satellite Trade and Security Act of 2001'' is designed to strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. satellite industry and enhance national security by preventing the unauthorized transfer of sensitive satellite-related technology.

SIA's Executive Director Clayton Mowry praised the bill stating, "This legislation will keep strong controls on satellite technology to ensure U.S. national security is protected while allowing American satellite companies to maintain their leadership position in the international marketplace.'' Mowry added, "State Department and Defense Department officials have testified before Congress in agreement that commercial satellites should be licensed by the Commerce Department. This bill reflects their common position and requires all the relevant national security agencies to review commercial satellite export license applications.''

Elliot Pulham, president and CEO of the Space Foundation said, "We applaud the introduction of legislation by Representatives Berman and Rohrabacher to return jurisdiction for commercial satellite export licensing to the Commerce Department.'' Pulham added, "While maintaining necessary and appropriate national security safeguards for sensitive technology, the proposed legislation is a crucial step forward in restoring the competitiveness of commercial satellite companies. That in turn strengthens the entire space industry, ensuring the many benefits of space technology can continue to enhance each of our lives.''

The Satellite Trade and Security Act of 2001 includes several security measures to ensure that sensitive satellite and related technologies are protected. The bill requires the Department of Commerce to refer all satellite export license applications to the Department of State and the Department of Defense for review while directing them to hold consultations with the Central Intelligence Agency for any overseas launches of U.S. commercial satellites. In introducing the bill Representative Berman emphasized that, "no export of any satellite or satellite-related component can proceed unless all three agencies agree.''

In 1998, Congress passed the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) transferring export licensing authority for all commercial satellite and related components from the Commerce Department to the State Department. Berman stated that since the shift in control, "It has become clear that the State Department is ill-equipped to handle these items. The agency takes far too long to issue licenses -- even to our closest allies.''

In February 2001 SIA released the results of a study conducted for the State of California that illustrated the negative results of the change in licensing authority. The report showed a drastic decline in U.S. market share for geostationary communications satellites from a ten-year average of about 75 percent to 45 percent during 2000 -- the first complete year since the transfer of export control authority.

The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) represents the leading U.S. space and communications companies in the commercial satellite arena. SIA's executive and affiliate member companies are engaged in satellite manufacturing, ground equipment manufacturing, satellite services, launch services, and support services. SIA is the unified voice of the U.S. commercial satellite industry on policy and regulatory matters of common concern. The association is dedicated to promoting the use of satellite technology in global communications.

The Colorado Springs-based Space Foundation is a national non-profit organization with a two-part mission: "To vigorously advance civil, commercial and national security space endeavors for a brighter future, and to passionately provide educational excellence through the excitement of space!''


Berman and Rohrabacher Introduce Bill to Strengthen Competitiveness Of U.S. Satellite Industry