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New US export rules are good news for tech companies

By Charlotte Ricca

Rules to cover security technologies such as quantum computing and 3-D printing

The US government is creating a set of “narrowly tailored” rules that will limit the export of security technologies to rival markets.

The announcement by Reuters will come as good news to many US tech companies, who feared tough regulations would prevent them exporting their products and services to key customers.

Before drafting the rules, the US Commerce Department consulted the tech industry on a range of sectors it could cover under the law, including artificial intelligence and robotics.

However, an internal document seen by Reuters shows the first draft of rules includes only a few, niche technologies.

“Based on their titles, the rules appear to be narrowly tailored to address specific national security issues, which should go a long way to calming the nerves of those in industry concerned that the administration would impose controls over broad categories of widely available technologies,” said Kevin Wolf, former assistant secretary of commerce for export administration.

Commerce is expected to seek industry comment before submitting the rules to international bodies for approval. They will also be implemented outside of the US, to ensure a level playing field.

There are five rules in total covering technologies, such as quantum computing and 3-D printing for explosives.

As well as being applied to goods from the US, they will affect the export of goods made abroad that contain a significant amount of US technology or components.

According to the source a sixth rule, covering artificial intelligence, will go into effect in the US without a comment period.

Commerce could decide to issue more rules in the future, regulating a broader range of technologies. The document didn’t say when the rules would be made public or what the controls would look like.


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