On November 13, President Bill Clinton signed legislation reauthorizing the 1979 Export Administration Act (EAA), which increases the penalties that U.S. exporters could face for violating U.S. export control laws on dual-use equipment and technologies. The EAA expired on August 20, 1994, and since then, the Department of Commerce has been enforcing U.S. export control laws under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which levies smaller fines for violations, grants agents from the Bureau of Export Administration lesser police powers, and lacks the confidentiality provisions for U.S. exporters that appear in the EAA.
Under the reauthorized EAA, violators of U.S. export control laws will face fines of up to $10,000 for civil infractions and $100,000 for violations of national security controls. Individuals found guilty of willful violations could face a fine up to $250,000 and a possible 10 years imprisonment, and corporations could be fined $1 million or five times the value of the exports. Under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the maximum penalties were $10,000 for civil violations and $50,000 and 10 years imprisonment for willful violations.
Upon signing the legislation, Clinton called the reauthorization a "small but significant step." He noted that the time to revise the EAA is "long overdue," and argued that an updated EAA "must recognize the current realities of a fast-paced highly competitive global market and at the same time help ensure our national security by controlling the export of sensitive dual-use items that have military and nonmilitary applications." The House of Representatives passed revisions in 1996 and the Senate Banking Committee approved an overhaul in September 1999, but the full Congress has yet to pass a revised act because of disputes over what technologies should be subject to control and how best to balance U.S. national security concerns with business interests.
Under the recently signed reauthorization, the EAA will expire again on August 20, 2001.