The US has revised its software-encryption export policy to all 15 European Union countries and eight other US allies.

The policy, announced Monday, has been updated to help maintain the competitiveness of US encryption software vendors, said a White House spokesman.

Under the new policy, US companies can export any encryption product to any end user in the EU, as well as end users in Australia, Norway, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Japan, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Restrictions on US sales of encryption software to these countries were partially lifted in January. Under that first phase of encryption-export liberalization, companies were permitted to export any encryption software - after a technical review - to individuals, commercial firms or other non-government end users. Residents of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria are excluded from the liberalization.

The revised policy removes the distinction that applied to government end users. It also says companies no longer have to wait for the completion of a technical review, or wait 30 days to ship their products.

The US moves follow the adoption of regulations by the EU that ease encryption exports to the same countries.