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U.S. Review of MTCR Delayed as Missile Defense Exemptions Debated

A review ordered last year by U.S. President George W. Bush of the Missile Technology Control regime and other export-control regulations is months behind schedule and has suffered disagreements over how to handle exceptions for missile defense technologies, the Washington Post reported yesterday (see GSN, July 14).

U.S. and European officials have said that U.S. MTCR-based export controls are hampering efforts to enlist foreign aid in developing a missile defense network.

In an effort to obtain European aid in building a missile defense network, senior U.S. Defense Department officials began an approach two years of targeting European countries, according to the Post. By signing cooperative agreements with European companies, it was hoped that the companies would then in turn lobby their governments to support the U.S.-led program, the Post reported.

Since late 2001, several European companies have entered into agreements with U.S. companies to explore options. To engage in more technical discussions, however, the European companies need to sign technical assistance agreements with the United States, the Post reported. Out of 19 requests for such agreements in the past two years, 15 have been approved but with provisions limiting what can be discussed because of MTCR-based export controls, company officials said.

“The problem is that the people who administer the process don’t seem to understand we’re living in a new world,” said a senior executive with a large U.S. defense company. “They continue to apply the rules in the strictest manner,” the executive said (Bradley Graham, Washington Post, Oct. 19).

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