ACCESSION NUMBER:345824 FILE ID:ECO201 DATE:05/24/94 TITLE:SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES EXPORT-CONTROL LEGISLATION (05/24/94) TEXT:*94052401.ECO ECEXPOLD EXP CONTROLS SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES EXPORT-CONTROL LEGISLATION (Bill nearer administration view than one in House) (590) By Bruce Odessey USIA Staff Writer Washington -- A Senate committee has approved an export-control bill much more to the liking of the Clinton administration than a version advanced in the House of Representatives, especially on the encryption software issue. The Senate Banking Committee May 24 approved 19-0 a bill revising the Export Administration Act (EAA) and extending it from expiration of the current EAA on June 30, 1994. The committee approved an amendment worked out with the National Security Agency (NSA) requiring only an administration report to Congress assessing how U.S. export controls on computer software with encryption capability affect U.S. international competitiveness. In contrast, the bill approved by the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee would allow exports of "generally available" encryption software as long as the intended use is civilian. The NSA opposes the House bill while U.S. industry supports it, arguing that such encryption products are already widely available from competing non-U.S. suppliers. Passage of each bill respectively by the full House or full Senate is required before a House-Senate conference could meet to work out differences in the legislation. In addition, the House Intelligence Committee, concerned about encryption and other issues, also has claimed authority to make changes to the Foreign Affairs Committee bill. "The Senate bill is much closer to what the president has proposed," William Reinsch, under secretary of commerce, told reporters. The encryption issue is his biggest concern; all other issues seem capable of resolution, he said. Both the House and Senate bills cover products useful in both civilian and military applications, but not weapons themselves, which are covered by another law. Both bills would give the president broad authority to impose export controls linked to U.S. participation in multilateral non-proliferation regimes like the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group (for biological and chemical weapons) and any successor regime to the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), which went out of existence in March after 45 years. While the House bill would sharply restrict the president's authority to impose unilateral controls, the Senate bill has no comparable provision, 1ut would require removal of obsolete items from the export-control list annually. Both bills would allow unilateral controls on exports to terrorist-supporting countries like Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea. The Senate bill would reduce the existing 120-day deadline for U.S. government decisions on export applications to 60 days while the House bill would reduce it to 30 days. The Senate bill also would give the Defense Department more influence over such decisions than would the House bill. A controversy could emerge over amendments expected to be offered in both the House and Senate for restricting exports of satellites for launch in China or Russia if those countries provide the service at less than fair price. U.S. oil companies and Alaska's delegation to Congress are likely to oppose provisions in both the House and Senate bills extending existing law prohibiting exports of oil from Alaska's North Slope. The Senate bill would authorize sanctions against foreign companies that undermine any U.S. export controls; the House bill would authorize sanctions against foreign persons who assist nuclear proliferation. Because the existing EAA expires June 30, the administration is seeking quick action from Congress. No votes have yet been scheduled for the floor of the House or the Senate. NNNN .