The Reagan Administration is taking steps to ease export restrictions that severely hamper U.S. producers and "cut them off at the knees" in world markets, Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige said today.
The proposals include thinning out the export-control list to remove "low technology" items and lifting restrictions on products sold directly to governments of Western allies, Baldrige said.
He said that the Administration, as part of the "competitiveness" and trade package to go to Congress later this month, will also propose a speedup of licensing for high-technology exports when foreign equivalents are freely available from other countries.
The Administration will also ask Congress to streamline the procedures for exporting products to China, Baldrige told a news conference.
"We have too much in the way of bureaucratic delays," Baldrige said, noting that as much as 40% of all U.S. merchandise shipped to allies now requires an export license.
While these controls were originally intended to safeguard national security, "we've gone too far," Baldrige said.
He said foreign companies are looking elsewhere for products and components, figuring buying U.S. products involves "a big hassle" because of the export controls.
Baldrige said this has led to a shift away from U.S. products that he called "de-Americanization."