Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) applauded a Department of Defense report released today that recommends relaxing export restrictions on commercial satellites and satellite parts that do not pose a national security risk. Congressman Ruppersberger, who is Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, has long championed satellite export reform to restore America's competitive edge and create much-needed jobs.
Currently, satellite and satellite parts are regulated under the U.S. Munitions List, which restricts what type of weapons can be sold overseas. Before they were placed on the list, the U.S. held 73 percent of the worldwide share of satellite exports. Since, that share has fallen a staggering 25 percent.
"This report validates what has become increasing clear for years: treating satellites like guns and ammo is crippling American space manufacturers," Congressman Ruppersberger said. "Prohibitions on old, simple and widely-available technologies are putting American companies at a disadvantage to foreign competitors and, in some cases, out of business. Loosening these out-dated restrictions is critical to more than 250,000 American jobs supported by the satellite industry, particularly during this economic downturn."
The report recommends moving certain satellites, such as those that provide direct broadcast television, cell phone communications and earth mapping, from the Munitions List to the Commerce Control List administered by the Department of Commerce. The move will enable the U.S. to prioritize resources for the most sensitive items, boost trade will allies and improve the long-term health of the American satellite industry, according to the report.
Congressman Ruppersberger is an original cosponsor of bipartisan legislation that enables the President to move commercial satellites and related components from the Munitions List to the Commerce Control List. It also prohibits satellite sales to China and North Korea, as well as state sponsors of terrorism.