Loosening Satellite Export Controls

Originally published in Law360, New York May 04, 2012.

Since 1999, strict controls on the export of U.S. satellites and satellite components have drastically eroded U.S. manufacturers’ market share in the global satellite industry. On April 18, 2012, the U.S. Departments of State and Defense released the “1248 report” containing findings related to reducing some of those controls.

The 1248 report assesses the national security risks of removing certain satellites and related components from the tightly controlled United States Munitions List and transferring them to the generally less restrictive Commerce Control List. The report concludes that most communications satellites, lower-performing remote sensing satellites and related components could be transferred from the USML to the CCL without harming U.S. national security. The transfer of these items to the CCL could greatly benefit the U.S. satellite industry by significantly easing the export controls placed on its products.

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