Good morning. On behalf the Commerce Department’s Office of General Counsel, let me join Under Secretary Juster, Deputy Under Secretary Bunton, and Assistant Secretaries Garcia and Jochum in welcoming you to Washington, D.C. and to this year’s Symposium.
As Ken mentioned in his introduction, I serve as the Chief Counsel for Export Administration. Like Ken, Mike and Jim, I have joined the Department quite recently as part of the new administration -- in my case, I assumed my position just two months ago. Accordingly, there are many here today from many delegations whom I have not had a chance to meet. I very much look forward to doing so over the course of this week, and hope in particular to meet those of you who may be legal experts or whose principal focus may be your country’s legal regimes.
Briefly, allow me to spend a moment on my background. Prior to assuming the position of Chief Counsel, I was in private practice at a large international law firm, working out of its Washington, London and Brussels offices and with clients in more than 40 countries. A significant component of my practice was working with multinational companies to help them understand and comply with the regulations they often confront when operating abroad. And, in certain cases, it involved working with foreign governments to help shape those regulatory schemes. I found this work enormously interesting and rewarding -- both intellectually, as an exercise in comparative law, and personally, as an opportunity to work with colleagues from other countries and cultures.
Accordingly, it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I am delighted to be able to be part of a gathering like today’s symposium. I am pleased to see such broad attendance and commitment to international cooperation in the development of export control capability. And I am firmly committed to lending my support and the support of my office to such endeavors in the future. The importance of your efforts to control the proliferation of goods and technology that pose risks to international peace and stability cannot be overstated. This importance is only underscored by the recent tragic events of September 11 in New York and Washington. I join the Under Secretary and Assistant Secretaries in commending your efforts and accomplishments in joining with the community of nations to address this all-important cause.
In particular, I would like to commend the excellent progress that I know many of you have made with respect to your laws and legal frameworks. I have recently reviewed the list of tasks that go into the creation of a "legal foundation" for export control laws -- everything from surveying the existing laws that may exist in your countries to assess their relevance and effect on export controls, to drafting new laws, to building the consensus necessary to adopt and implement such laws. I have also reviewed the finished products -- the legal foundational documents -- that a number of you have generated. I fully appreciate that these tasks are neither simple nor easy; those who have managed to accomplish them are to be congratulated -- these are significant achievements.
I am delighted that the Office of Chief Counsel has been able to be of assistance to many of you as you have undertaken these tasks, and I want to assure you that we look forward to rendering in the future whatever additional legal assistance you may need and we are able to render. As you may know, over the past eight years, lawyers from the Office of Chief Counsel have been actively involved in many technical assistance programs, working closely, at your request, with your countries’ legal experts as you undertake the drafting of decrees, statutes and regulations to implement or strengthen your respective export control systems.
Over the past year alone, OCC lawyers have participated in dozens of export control cooperation programs, working in the United States and abroad with officials from more than 20 countries. While we have a relatively small staff -- just 15 lawyers -- and an ever-increasing workload, I’m delighted to say that every lawyer in the office assisted in these technical exchanges in one way or another, dedicating hundreds of hours last year to these bilateral and multilateral exchanges and technical assistance programs. I fully hope and expect for OCC to maintain this level of commitment to the best of our ability.
Finally, as your export control systems develop and mature, I would be delighted to offer our support and experience in one other area -- in helping think through what the proper ongoing role of the lawyer is within such systems. Within the Bureau of Export Administration, the Office of Chief Counsel is called upon to perform a wide variety of functions that go far beyond technical legal drafting. Our principal roles include: counseling BXA management on interpretation and application of the regulations, laws and treaties; reviewing regulations, policies, legislation, and decrees not only for legal sufficiency but also to assess their practical impact; representing BXA in administrative and other legal proceedings, including all administrative enforcement proceedings; and representing and counseling BXA in its dealings with industry, other agencies and other branches of government. Lawyers in the Office of Chief Counsel are encouraged to think creatively and critically, and never to hesitate to raise questions or suggest solutions. To be sure, this model of lawyering may not be consistent with your legal traditions –- I recognize that the "culture of lawyering" and clients’ expectations of lawyers differs substantially from system to system -- and it may not be optimal for your export control systems. But it is one model, and I would be happy to discourse at greater length with those of you who might find that it has something to offer your systems.
In conclusion, I would again reiterate that it is my sincere hope that I get to meet many of you during your stay in Washington. Please also know that the doors (and telephone lines) at the Office of Chief Counsel are open to you all, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance. I look forward to working with you all in building a better international system of export controls in the years to come. Thank you.
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.