February 1, 2000


1:10 P.M. EST

                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                         February 1, 2000

                             PRESS BRIEFING BY
                       JAKE SIEWERT AND DAVID LEAVY

                                    The Briefing Room

1:10 P.M. EST

          MR. SIEWERT:  I think we will be joined shortly by the NSC
representative, so if you could hold your questions on that.  I have a
couple of announcements.  The President will travel to Chappaqua Saturday.
We will be taking a press pool on that.  We'll also have a sign-up posted.
If there's enough interest, we will have a press plane that goes up on
Sunday and returns Sunday.  The pool will spend Saturday and Sunday night
in the vicinity of Chappaqua with the President.  He will return to the
White House on Monday.

          The President will also have an announcement later today easing
computer export controls.  This is a pledge that he's made to the industry
which has been at the forefront of economic growth and innovation in this
country -- that we will from time to time review the rules governing export
licensing of high-performance computers, and we'll have an announcement
later today making some adjustments to that to reflect the realities of
today's marketplace.

          Q    In what form is the announcement?

          MR. SIEWERT:  We'll do that on paper.

          We've pledged -- as you know, the President met with some of the
CEOs from the high-tech companies last month and urged them to press
Congress on tightening up the waiting period that we -- we now have to wait
six months before these kinds of controls go into effect.  The President
thinks that's too long for today's marketplace.  We hope to see some action
on a bipartisan basis on a bill that will do that, that will tighten that
up to one month that we've proposed.  But in the meantime, we're taking
this executive action to make it easier for American high-performance
computer companies to ship their exports overseas while we maintain the
controls that are necessary to protect our national security.  We'll have
that paper for you very shortly.


          Q    Jake, regarding China, one of the reasons for the six-month
waiting period on export controls was fear of China taking some of our
technology, particularly in supercomputers, going back some time.  Is the
feeling that that has changed somewhat now, that a threat from the Chinese
is not as great, and we simply have to be in that market -- not just China,
but also other markets?  And what can the President do, since the six-month
waiting period is by law?  Are you talking about some sort of executive
order today?

          MR. SIEWERT:  No.  The executive order that we're putting in
place eases licensing requirements today.  What we're trying to do -- we
can't change the waiting period; that is part of law.  But we can -- what
the law does now is allow the President to change the type of computer
that's being exported, but we have to wait six months for those regulations
to go into effect.  And that's something the computer industry says is just
too long a period given how quickly the technology changes, how quickly the
technology moves.

          What the President wants to do is shorten that time period, by
law, to one month, so that we don't need to spend every six months going
back to the drawing board and trying to figure out what kind of computers
are widely available in the marketplace today and whether we need to take
another look at our regulations.  A short waiting period would give
computer industry a better chance to figure out its product lines and what
they can export, its marketing schemes for exports overseas.

          On China, we're still maintaining a lot of the security controls
that are in place under the current law.  We have loosened some
requirements to reflect the realities of today's marketplace, but we still
have tier one, tier two, and tier three countries, so that we cannot sell
-- the computer industry cannot sell the same computers that it sells to an
ally in Europe that it can to places like Pakistan or China.

          Q    Isn't the real problem that you have to define, change the
definition of what a supercomputer is, because as you say, the speed of
these chips just changes expedientially these days?

          MR. SIEWERT:  We've committed to a six-month review.  We'd like
to change the law so that we can have more rational review periods.  But
the President will order today that we have another review, beginning in
April, and we may have a decision after that because the technology is
moving so quickly.  But we've been consulting with the Pentagon and with
the NSC about how to keep in place some of the security controls that the
law envisions, and ensure that we do everything we can to make sure that
high-performance computers don't get into the hands of the wrong users.

          Q    Can you talk about the realities of the marketplace, where
we don't sell the computers somebody else will?

          MR. SIEWERT:  Well, also the realities of the fact that the
marketplace -- America has some of the best technology in the world, and a
lot of people don't have any recourse but to come to the United States, but
to ensure that in a very open global economy that our rules on licensing
are more or less reflecting what's going on in the actual industry today.


          Q    -- domestic, but the computer export controls would be
reviewed on a regular basis, is what you're saying, that we want a shorter
waiting period between --

          MR. SIEWERT:  Well, there are two things.  The President has
committed -- we've relaxed or eased the computer controls already from time
to time.  What the President is committed to do is to review them every six
months, and we'll continue to do that.  He's ordered another review to
being in April so that we can have a decision in time for the computer
industries to develop its new product lines and to developing some export
plans for those.

          At the same time, the current law calls for the export controls
for a waiting period of six months, so that when we announce this proposal
today, it essentially goes into effect six months from now.  What we would
like to see is legislation that shortens that waiting period, so that when
we announce a new regulation to actually ease controls and make it easier
for some of our high performance computer companies to export those, that
it only takes one month for those rules to actually go into effect, because
the marketplace is changing very quickly, technology is moving very
quickly.  We want to make sure that when we make decisions, they move as
quickly as the market.

          Q    In terms of Chappaqua --

          Q    -- these controls --

          MR. SIEWERT:  These controls will take the full six months to go
into effect.  We think that, actually having consulted with the computer
industry, that that gives them enough time to develop new products, to
develop a marketing plan for those.  What we would like to see is
legislation from Congress that will shorten future waiting periods to one

                             END                 1:50 P.M. EST