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Update On Federal Legislation to Restrict Exports

It’s déjà vu all over again. Lawmakers are again considering a relatively new concept towards restricting the exports of electronic devices. This time around, the focus is protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure.

Last time, it was to protect national security. Before that, the goal was to create jobs in the United States. And, before that, it was to protect the environment and the developing world. However, each of those rationales were based on falsehoods as they are again with today’s proposal.

The same suspects, Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are continuing to try to advance this misguided legislation. Congressman Green reintroduced his legislation in the House earlier this year. This time, the proponents of the legislation are claiming that restricting used non-working electronics would remove the opportunities for counterfeiters to insert these non-working electronic components into new electronic devices used to protect critical infrastructure. Their proposal fails to take into account that most electronic devices are manufactured or are located outside the United States. Moreover, their legislation allows electronics device manufacturers to export their used or defective (and nonworking) devices placing U.S. recyclers at a significant unfair disadvantage.

Back in 2012 when a similar counterfeiting proposal was introduced, Senators McCain and Levin passed legislation that would require manufacturers of military equipment that contained electronic chips to establish “trusted” supply chains and test those products to ensure this equipment did not contain any counterfeit electronic components. The Defense Department quickly promulgated regulations to achieve the Senator’s legislative goals and solving this problem. ISRI suggests this same concept should be used to protect critical infrastructure rather than a misguided approach that is actually a Trojan Horse for achieving other discredited policy goals.  

For more information about this latest attempt to restrict the exports of electronic devices, please contact Billy Johnson.

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