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American Shipper

Mancuso wants “rational, predictable and efficient” BIS

Mancuso wants “rational, predictable and efficient” BIS

Mancuso wants “rational, predictable and efficient” BIS

The Bush administration’s recently appointed Commerce Department undersecretary for industry and security wants the Bureau of Industry and Security’s regulatory actions to be “rational, predictable and efficient” to the export industry.

   Mario Mancuso, who took over as BIS chief two weeks ago, emphasized during a conference call with reporters on Thursday that BIS continues to seek interaction with the export industry. “Input from our stakeholders is absolutely necessary to what we do,” he said.

   A former attorney with New York law firm Shearman & Sterling, Mancuso served as the administration’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism, prior to his appointment with BIS.

   In his new position, Mancuso heads the Commerce Department’s dual-use export control efforts, which are designed to advance the country’s national security, foreign policy, and economic activities.

   Mancuso noted his focus on the Bush administration’s April proposal for federal legislation that would significantly increase the Commerce Department’s fines and penalties for companies that violate U.S. export control regulations.

   BIS continues to operate under the 1979 Export Administration Act, which expired in 2001 and has since been reinstated annually through presidential authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

   IEEPA civil penalties were increased to $50,000 per violation in the reauthorized USA Patriot Act of 2005, signed into law on March 9, 2006. However, for violations committed prior to this amendment, civil penalties continue to be set at the 1979 Export Administration Act’s level of $11,000 per violation.

   Under the Export Enforcement Act, the maximum civil penalty will be $500,000 per violation. The maximum corporate penalties for criminal violations under the proposed legislation would increase from $50,000 under the IEEPA to a maximum $5 million or 10 times the value of the exports involved in the violation. Individuals involved in criminal violations of the act, if convicted, may spend up to 10 years in jail.

   Mancuso said there’s broad support on Capitol Hill to strengthen the Commerce Department’s export enforcement functions.

   BIS is also expected to soon release its final rule for establishing the so-called “validated end user” procedures for Chinese companies seeking to buy certain U.S. technologies. According to the Commerce Department, the rulemaking promises fewer administrative burdens for U.S. companies who would otherwise require a license to export to these Chinese firms. Prospective validated end users would need to meet a number of criteria. BIS received 57 comments from exporters and industry groups regarding the proposed rule.

   “Fair observers (of the rule) will say that it strikes the right balance with the Chinese government,” Mancuso said.

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