Hong Kong Trader, March 30, 2012 —
The opening on 7 March of two multi-agency centres to improve the administration of U.S. export controls was hailed by the White House as a “significant step forward” in the implementation of President Obama’s Export Control Reform Initiative. The goal of these two centres is to streamline and improve the U.S. export control regime by fostering a more co-ordinated and harmonised approach that facilitates secure trade. The administration believes such an approach will better protect critical military technologies from being transferred to countries or entities of national security and proliferation concerns while strengthening the U.S. defence industrial base by helping U.S. exporters be more competitive and reliable suppliers.
The Export Enforcement Coordination Center will be responsible for enhanced information sharing and co-ordination between law enforcement and intelligence officials regarding possible violations of U.S. export controls laws. The E2C2 will be administered by the Department of Homeland Security with a leadership team comprised of officials from DHS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Commerce. The White House states that the opening of the E2C2 “builds on the increased criminal penalties for export control violations and the provision of Commerce’s permanent law enforcement authorities implemented in partnership with Congress in the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act.”
The Information Triage Unit, which will be housed at the DOC, will be responsible for assembling and disseminating relevant information from which to base informed decisions on proposed exports requiring a U.S. government licence. This multi-agency screening will co-ordinate the reviews of separate processes across the government to ensure that all departments and agencies have a full dataset, consistent with national security, from which to make decisions on export licence applications. The White House indicates that such screening contributes to more timely, predictable and consistent processes that U.S. exporters engaged in global trade have confirmed are critical to their competitiveness.
Moreover, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive has been designated as the entity responsible for co-ordinating export control issues involving the intelligence community. The White House states that this designation represents “another significant process improvement for more seamless and comprehensive access to intelligence.”