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Public Papers - 1990

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the President's Export Control Initiatives


The President has approved a series of export control initiatives that reflect changing strategic concerns of the United States. These include a package of procedural reforms to streamline and clarify export license processing, while enhancing our export controls to stem the spread of missile technology and nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The President also decided a number of pending high-performance computer export license applications to Brazil, India, and the People's Republic of China that had raised a number of national security concerns.

Export Licensing Procedures

In his recent announcement of disapproval of the Omnibus Export Amendments Act of 1990, President Bush directed U.S. agencies to institute, by January 1, 1991, new procedures to make dual-use export licensing decisions faster and more predictable, while fully accounting for proliferation and other national security concerns. Details of the new procedures are provided in a separate fact sheet.

The President determined that ``American exporters are entitled to prompt review of export license applications submitted to the United States Government,'' and that there is a ``presumption of approval of such applications based on our commitment to an open international trading system and the need to ensure American competitiveness.'' At the same time, he emphasized that none of these changes ``signal a lessening of our determination to weigh cautiously license applications raising potential nonproliferation or broader national security concerns.''

Approval of Computer Exports

In addition to these procedural reforms, the President made decisions on a number of long-pending high-performance computer export licenses for Brazil, India, and the People's Republic of China. These exports presented complicated and far-reaching policy issues. The President approved several of the license applications, but because of the potential strategic applications of such computers, he also required the imposition of stringent safeguards to ensure that the computers will be used exclusively for peaceful civilian purposes. The companies affected by these decisions will be notified by the Commerce Department of the actions taken on the licenses.

Enhanced Proliferation Control Initiative

Following on the President's call in his speech before the U.N. General Assembly to ``redouble our efforts to stem the spread'' of missile technology as well as nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, an ``Enhanced Proliferation Control Initiative'' has been adopted. The package, more fully described in an attached fact sheet, includes the following elements:

-- Worldwide export controls on 50 chemicals that can be used to manufacture chemical weapons.

-- Export licenses for proposed exports that may be related to the development of missiles or chemical and biological weapons. (Such licenses are already required for items that may be used for nuclear weapons.)

-- Civil and criminal penalties against U.S. citizens who knowingly participate in activities that promote the spread of missile technology and chemical weapons. (Similar penalties already apply in the areas of nuclear and biological weapons.)

The package, which is scheduled for implementation by February 16, will implement portions of Executive Order No. 12735, issued by the President on November 16, 1990, as part of his efforts to combat the spread of chemical and biological weapons.

Note: The Executive order is listed in Appendix E at the end of this volume.

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