Nanotechnology is a topic I've been monitoring for the past few months. One of the regulatory fears of the leaders in this field seems to be the possibility that their products and technologies will get slapped with export controls, impeding their access to overseas markets and giving a leg up to their foreign competitors. Turns out that this is also on the mind of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who spoke at a big nanotech conference being held this week in New York, summarized here by UPI:
Wyden, the senior senator from Oregon, kicked off the Nanobusiness 2005 conference, here, with a keynote address charge to attendees, who include nanotechnology company executives, researchers and others, not to allow the United States to fall behind in the emerging field.
Wyden, a co-sponsor of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, a bill that aims to provide $3.7 billion funding for Nanotechnology Research and Development in the United States, warned that it will take considerable effort to keep the industry rolling forward in the U.S. over the next few years.
Wyden is working to keep nanotechnology in front of Washington`s agenda, he said, and to protect it from measures he believes could harm it, such as export controls. But he asked a few things from business and political leaders, both on state and federal levels, to help keep things moving...
Wyden said that continuing to offer the field free and open markets are paramount. The Senator on Monday sent a letter to Carlos Gutierrez, secretary of commerce, urging him to resist putting export controls on nanotechnology.
"I don't think anything would chill investment in American nanotechnology faster than putting in place export control," Wyden said. It's a "prescription for our country to lose jobs."
The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) already participates in the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the federal government's primary R&D effort in this area. And the President's Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration (PECSEA), an advisory committee which BIS administers, is supposed to investigate nanotech and produce a report for the Secretary Gutierrez (though it's not clear if they've even begun this task.)