The U.S. government must relax its export-licensing procedures because existing guidelines are hindering potential foreign sales of high-technology products by San Fernando Valley companies, Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Panorama City) said Monday.
"In one sense the greatest enemy of improvement in high-technology exports in this country has been the federal government and its complicated, inconsistent, duplicative and overly restrictive forms of export licensing. And that, of course, affects a lot of companies in the San Fernando Valley and in California, particularly, in terms of what they can export," Berman said in an appearance before the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn.
Berman, whose 26th District represents such communities as Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, Pacoima and parts of Burbank, criticized guidelines that curb exports of high-technology products that are widely available in other countries because of concerns regarding national security.
"If the Russians are buying the stuff off the streets in our allied countries, why are we restricting these kinds of things here when they have no specific military capability to enhance the Soviet or Eastern Bloc potential?" Berman said.
Berman, a member of the trade subcommittee of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that next month he would be "heavily involved in trying to fight for a liberalized, sensible licensing program."
On another topic, Berman urged local business and political leaders to avoid trying to develop the Metro Rail system to serve their own interests.
Berman said there is already opposition from other parts of the country over the amount of federal transportation funds flowing into Southern California.
"I want a transportation system that is ultimately made by transportation planners and not by politics or the business community or anything else," he said.
"I want the worst routes, that is, the most crowded routes, to get the first transportation system, because that will determine how suited L.A. is for subway, high-density rapid transit," Berman said. "You have to develop more confidence in the credibility of the transportation planners," he said.