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Statement on Signing the Reauthorization of the Export Administration Act of 1979

November 13, 2000

Today I have signed into law H.R. 5239, which reauthorizes the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA) until August 20, 2001.

Reauthorization and revision of the EAA is long overdue. The EAA is a Cold War statute and its authorities lapsed on August 20, 1994. Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a strong need for a modern export control law that will provide U.S. businesses an updated legal framework in which to operate. This revised Act must recognize the current realities of a fast-paced highly competitive global market and at the same time help ensure our national security by controlling the export of sensitive dual-use items that have military and nonmilitary applications. My Administration proposed such a revision back in 1994. Despite several efforts, the Congress has not yet been able to pass a new revised Act.

In reauthorizing the EAA on a short-term basis, the Congress has taken a small but significant step. Reauthorizing the EAA will overcome the legal challenges now being made to the Department of Commerce's continued operation of its export control system under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act after the lapse of the EAA. In particular, the reauthorization confirms the Department's ability to keep export licensing information obtained during the lapse of the EAA from public disclosure, which is a critical part of the Department's export control system and protects sensitive business information and commercial interests of U.S. exporters. The Congress' actions have reaffirmed the view of the executive branch in this matter— that confidential treatment of export licensing information is continuous regardless of whether the EAA is in a lapse period. The reauthorization of the EAA also reaffirms that the Congress must abide by statutory limitations on public disclosure of such information.

While a comprehensive revision of the Export Administration Act is necessary, this reauthorization of the EAA is a needed short-term step.


The White House, November 13, 2000.

NOTE: H.R. 5239, approved November 13, was assigned Public Law No. 106-508.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Reauthorization of the Export Administration Act of 1979 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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