Export control laws and regulations are not necessarily the things of popular culture (although the issue does crop up in movies every so often). If you live long enough in the greater Washington, DC Metropolitan area, you learn that folks who live in places other than Washington see certain things in Beltway happenings that make no sense.
Take radio talk show host and blogger Andrew Horowitz, The Disciplined Investor show. Recently he made a quip on export controls that is worth passing along, even if just for the humor effect. Horowitz was reacting to a speech delivered last week by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke that was mainly focused on reducing the U.S. trade deficit.
In a very small section of the speech, Locke made a passing reference to export control reforms. Locke said that administration officials were considering removing “restrictions on exports of goods with potential military applications when such technologies were available worldwide.” Horowitz was not at all pleased with this statement:
Now, this is one of the stupidest things I could ever imagine that could be dreamed up … So, in the end, the brainiacs in Washington believe that the recent attacks on Google [by China] and other companies should be allowed and we should even provide some of the technology to help the hackers along? No, can’t be, I must be reading into this with a negative eye…
No negative eye Andrew, just common sense. Fortunately the overwhelming majority of U.S. goods and services can move freely in international commerce. And while there is a need to reform the existing global export control system, as far as U.S. interests are concerned, it should be primarily driven by our national security interests. In these cases, lowering trade barriers or the trade deficit in a secondary or tertiary issue of concern.
Complying with these rules can be challenging, but not impossible or as onerous as some folks in this town make it out to be.
Read the complete Horowitz post, here.