Tangled up in ITAR

Ryan Zelnio continues his essay on export controls with a look at how those pesky International Traffic in Arms Regulations negatively effect US commercial satellite business.

Some would suggest US lawmakers grappling with some of these technology transfer issues take a look at what they're trying to protect and remember the dictum of the Roman physician, Galen: first do no harm. As Ryan notes, "export policy is just one factor" contributing to a downturn in the satellite manufacturing sector. But John Vinter of International Space Brokers testified before a House hearing, The Future Markets for Commercial Space,

I would also recommend that the International Traffic In Arms Regulations, as regards to commercial space activities, be reviewed to see if they really achieve what they are meant to achieve... The practical impact of these regulations should be noted. From the insurance point of view, it is important to recognize that two thirds of the market is located outside of the country and the same underwriters appear on most of the programs. It could benefit US industry if the ITAR process can be streamlined. However, I should point out the whole process is pushing satellite business overseas as non US operators find it increasingly difficult to cope with the process, particularly, in a tough competitive environment. (April 20, 2005)

Of course, all this means no rest for lawyers, at least the ones who understand the satellite trade issues here and can help.

(Speaking of which, here are some dates for an Advanced ITAR Workshop for continuing legal education credit in 2006.)

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