On July 31, 2009, Rep. Brad J. Sherman (D-Calif.) introduced House Resolution 3515, titled the Export Control Improvement Act, in an effort to make improvements in the electronic filing of export data and to strengthen enforcement authorities with respect to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). The Export Control Improvement Act contains two titles: the Securing Exports Through Coordination and Technology Act; and the Export Enforcement Act of 2009.

The Securing Exports Through Coordination and Technology Act, if signed into law, will amend Title 13, Chapter 9 of the U.S. Code and create an Automated Export System (“AES”), whereby exporters enter export-related data into the AES and the AES automatically informs the exporter of any applicable export license requirements. If the information entered into the AES does not satisfy the requirements of the various export control laws and regulations, the AES will issue notices, compliance alerts, and other warnings to the exporter, accompanied by references to the applicable authorities. In addition, the AES will retain records of actions of all exporters that utilize the AES in an effort to simplify and streamline future filings. The Department of Commerce is charged with oversight of the AES, including ensuring that any changes to U.S. export laws, regulations, product classifications, and party lists are reflected in the AES.

The Export Enforcement Act, if signed into law, will require a comprehensive review of export control laws and regulations to assure that: (1) exports are approved quickly for trusted partners of the United States; (2) strategic export controls effectively identify and protect technologies critical to U.S. national security interests; and (3) coordination is improved among the responsible federal agencies to enhance efficiency, information sharing, and the consistent execution of export control laws. To carry out these objectives, Special Agents at the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) would be provided with permanent law enforcement authorities that will allow them to perform undercover operations, make arrests, conduct searches and seizures, and carry firearms. Further, BIS would be able to search, detain, and seize goods or technology not only within the United States but also at locations outside the United States pursuant to arrangements with other countries.

The Export Enforcement Act will also require that the Department of Commerce report to Congress regarding all countries that are likely to ship, re-export, or divert items subject to the EAR to an entity owned or controlled by the Government of Iran. The bill calls for a strengthening of U.S. export control laws and licensing requirements with respect to such countries.

So far, Rep. Sherman’s proposed bill has reached the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Reed Smith will continue to track the progress of the Export Control Improvement Act and provide periodic updates.