Let me also add my welcome to that of Under Secretary Juster. We appreciate that your countries have made such a strong commitment to effective export controls that they have sent you here for these important meetings. I believe it is crucial that those of us in the export control community share our experiences and expertise. In this way, we can continue our efforts to improve the multilateral nature of export controls and their effective implementation.
As Under Secretary Juster said, I have the privilege and responsibility of leading the Bureau of Export Administration's licensing office. Soon after I took office I received a publication called the Prune Book which purports to rank the toughest jobs in the United States Government. Of all the jobs in the Commerce Department, Under Secretary Juster's position and my own position were rated as the two most difficult. After working here for the last six months, I now know that to be true. So I congratulate those of you who have accepted this challenge and empathize with you because developing and implementing an effective export control program is not an easy job.
But it is a very important and satisfying job. We, as export control officials, play an often unnoticed but vital role in protecting and defending the security of our respective countries. We do this by preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and combating international terrorism. It is becoming increasingly evident that accomplishing these worthy goals is possible only through multinational cooperation. The scourge of terrorism will not be defeated with unilateral measures. It will take all of us acting together. Likewise, rogue nations will not be deterred from building weapons of mass destruction programs unless the responsible nations of the world are committed to preventing it.
Those of us on this panel look forward to working with you to improve the multilateral control regimes and enhance the cooperation between the nations represented here today. On a regional basis, I know that many of your countries are working with your neighbors to address issues that may be unique to your part of the world. During the next two days you will have an opportunity to hear how different groups are addressing their specific export control issues. I encourage you to share your unique experiences with the larger group so we all continue learning ways to make our jobs easier and our goals achievable. And because each region does face unique challenges, it is important that dialogue on a regional level continue beyond the Symposium.
I would also like to say a few words about the topic of tomorrow's meetings, industry-government relations. In an open society the goals of an export control system can be accomplished only through the cooperation and commitment of the private sector. In this effort, the Bureau of Export Administration communicates regularly with a wide range of U.S. exporters representing a vast array of industries. On Thursday and Friday of this week, you will participate in our showcase event, the annual Update Conference, where we will inform U.S. exporters about regulatory and legislative changes to our export control laws. You will see first hand the exchange of information between government officials and representatives of industry.
On an ongoing basis, the Bureau of Export Administration has organized advisory groups that are focused on specific industry sectors, such as information technology and sensors and instrumentation. These advisory groups include representatives of companies whose products and technologies are impacted by export controls. The groups meet regularly to provide export control officials with regular information about the state of technology in their industries, as well as advising us of the impact of policy changes on their business.
Tomorrow you will hear from Eileen Albanese, who is responsible for arranging the Update Conference you will be attending later in the week. Her office also operates BXA's industry education and outreach program. This is the cornerstone of our Industry-Government initiative. In fact, BXA participates in approximately 100 outreach seminars for exporters per year and fields approximately 140,000 telephone calls on an annual basis from exporters seeking information and guidance. Furthermore, BXA has developed a sample export management system that is provided to exporters to aid in establishing their internal compliance programs. In exchange, they inform us how they administer their programs so we can better understand how export control regulatory procedures impact the exporting public.
As I stated earlier, an ongoing dialogue between government export control officials and the exporting community is vital to an effective export control program and that is why we devote significant resources to doing just that. In order to achieve an efficient export control system, we must understand the costs borne by exporters in complying with export controls. We know that many companies devote a fair amount of personnel and money to comply with export rules. But it is not so easy to quantify the impact of the many everyday business decisions influenced by export control law. Decisions like whether to enter a certain foreign market or to accept a particular order. These are not insignificant decisions for any company, large or small. And it is clear that the cumulative effect of companies foregoing these opportunities represents a cost to the economy as a whole. We have decided as a society, however, that the benefit of export controls to national security outweighs this cost. And I think American business agrees with this conclusion. One of the many painful lessons of September 11 is that a breach in security is not good for business. If you don't believe me, ask the hotel and restaurant owners as you visit Washington this week. Nevertheless, every effort should be made to target export controls so that national security is enhanced with the least impact on legitimate commercial activity. So, I encourage you to move ahead on your export control efforts - cognizant of the impact on business but with the realization that your country and your region will be a safer place as a result of your efforts. I encourage you, too, to keep open the lines of communication with those of us at the Bureau of Export Administration. I hope you enjoy the Symposium as well as the Update Conference.
In April of 2002 the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA)
changed its name to the Bureau of Industry and Security(BIS). For historical
purposes we have not changed the references to BXA in the legacy documents
found in the Archived Press and Public Information.