Hong Kong - Country Commercial Guide
Strategic Trade Controls for Exports to Hong Kong

Includes the U.S. government export controls that companies need to abide by when exporting to this country

Last published date: 2022-12-17

The United States imposes export controls to protect national security interests and promote foreign policy objectives related to dual-use goods and less-sensitive military items through implementation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (15 CFR Parts 730 – 774).  The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is responsible for regulating, implementing, and enforcing dual-use export controls.  Export Administration (EA) is responsible for processing license applications, counselling exporters, and drafting and publishing changes to the EAR; and Export Enforcement (EE) is responsible for compliance monitoring and enforcement of the EAR.  BIS works closely with U.S. embassies, foreign governments, industry, and trade associations to ensure that exports from the United States are secure and items subject to the EAR comply with the regulations.  BIS officials conduct site visits, known as End-Use Checks (EUCs), globally with end-users, consignees, and/or other parties to transactions involving items subject to the EAR to verify compliance.  

An EUC is an on-site verification of a non-U.S. party to a transaction to determine whether the party is a reliable recipient of items subject to the EAR.  EUCs are conducted as part of BIS’s licensing process, as well as its compliance program, to determine if items were exported in accordance with a valid BIS authorization or otherwise consistent with the EAR.  Specifically, an EUC verifies the bona fides of transactions subject to the EAR, to include confirming the legitimacy and reliability of the end use and end user; monitoring compliance with license conditions; and ensuring items are used, re-exported, or transferred (in-country) in accordance with the EAR.  These checks might be completed prior to the export of items pursuant to a BIS export license in the form of a Pre-License Check (PLC) or following an export from the U.S. during a Post-Shipment Verification (PSV), regardless of whether or not a BIS license was required.

BIS officials rely on EUCs to safeguard items subject to the EAR from diversion to unauthorized end uses/users and destinations.  The verification of a foreign party’s reliability facilitates future trade, including pursuant to BIS license reviews.  If BIS is unable to verify the reliability of the company or is prevented from accomplishing an EUC, the company may receive, for example, more regulatory scrutiny during license application reviews or be designated on BIS’s Unverified List or Entity List, as applicable.

BIS has developed a list of “red flags”, or warning signs, and compiled “Know Your Customer” guidance intended to aid exporters in identifying possible violations of the EAR.  Both resources are publicly available, and their dissemination to industry members is highly encouraged to help promote EAR compliance.

BIS also provides a variety of training sessions to U.S. exporters throughout the year.  These sessions range from one to two-day seminars that focus on the basics of exporting to coverage of more advanced, industry specific topics.  Interested parties can check a list of upcoming seminars and webinars or reference BIS provided online training.  BIS’s Export Control Officers (ECOs) located at U.S. embassies and consulates in seven overseas locations also conduct outreach to raise awareness of reexport control requirements with foreign business communities. 

BIS and the EAR regulate transactions involving the export of “dual-use” and less-sensitive military items (commodities, software, and technology) as well as some U.S. person activities.  For advice and regulatory requirements on items under the export control jurisdiction of other U.S. Government agencies, exporters should consult other U.S. Government agencies.  For example, the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has authority over the defense articles and services that are not subject to the EAR.  A list of other agencies involved in export control can be found on the BIS website and in Supplement No. 3 to Part 730 of the EAR.

The EAR is available on the BIS website and on the e-CFR (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations) and is updated as needed.

The Consolidated Screening List (CSL) is a list of parties for which the United States Government maintains restrictions on certain exports, reexports or transfers of items.  The CSL consolidates eleven export screening lists of the Departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury into a single data feed as an aid to industry in conducting electronic screens of parties to regulated transactions.  Exporters should determine the export requirements specific to their proposed transaction by classifying their items prior to export and reviewing the EAR’s requirements specific to the item(s) and the proposed end use and end user, as well as consulting the CSL to determine if any parties to the transaction may be subject to specific license requirements. 

Assistance is available from BIS by calling one of the following numbers:

  • 202) 482-4811 - Outreach and Educational Services Division (located in Washington, DC – open Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5:00 pm ET).
  • (949) 660-0144 - Western Regional Office (located in Irvine, CA – open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm PT); or
  • (408) 998-8806 - Northern California branch (located in San Jose, CA – open Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00 pm PT).

You may also e-mail your inquiry to the Export Counseling Division of the Office of Exporter Services at ECDOEXS@bis.doc.gov.

Contact information for BIS’s overseas ECOs can be found at: https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/enforcement/oea/eco

2022 Russia/Belarus Sanctions:

In response to the Russian Federation’s (Russia’s) invasion of Ukraine, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has taken swift and severe action to impose stringent export controls on Russia.  These restrictions have also been applied to Belarus in response to its substantial enabling of Russia’s invasion.  The actions taken by BIS build on existing restrictions in place on Russia since its occupation of Crimea.  In particular, BIS has imposed controls on a range of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) that did not previously require export licenses when destined for Russia or Belarus, and both countries have been made subject to broad in-country transfer controls, and to a license review policy of denial.  Restrictions on Russian ‘military end users’ and ‘military end uses’ cover all items subject to the EAR with exceptions for food and medicine designated as EAR99.  The export, reexport, and transfer (in country) of luxury goods is restricted to all end users in Russia and Belarus and to certain Russian and Belarusian oligarchs and malign actors located worldwide.  Two new Foreign Direct Product (FDP) rules establish controls over certain foreign-produced items.  Partner countries that have committed to implementing substantially similar measures are not subject to the two new FDP rules.  Exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) from the following countries are not subject to these rules: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Hong Kong

In December 2020, BIS published a regulatory amendment confirming that exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) to Hong Kong are treated as transactions destined for the People’s Republic of China (China) for purposes of the U.S. export control system.  Accordingly, items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) that require a license for export or reexport to China also require a license when destined to Hong Kong.  Hong Kong is now also subject to statutory restrictions that prohibit the issuance of export licenses for certain types of transactions to China.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed P.L. 101-246, Title IX, which is commonly referred to as the “Tiananmen Square Sanctions.”  Among other things, this law restricts the U.S. licensing of exports and reexports of crime control and crime detection equipment and instruments listed in the EAR to China, as well as the licensing of defense articles and defense services subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  These restrictions apply regardless of the end user in China. Pursuant to § 742.6(b)(1)(i) of the EAR, exports of certain 9x515 and “600 series” items are also reviewed in accordance with ITAR policy in 22 CFR 126.1

In addition to U.S. export controls, Hong Kong maintains its own strategic trade control system, requiring licenses for the import or export of items commonly found on internationally-supported strategic trade control lists, including those adopted by the United States.  Hong Kong’s licensing system is administered by the Trade and Industry Department (TID), and applications for licenses in Hong Kong may require evidence that a shipment from the United States has been lawfully made. More information can be found on TID’s website, https://www.stc.tid.gov.hk/eindex.html.

BIS maintains certain recordkeeping requirements for multilaterally-controlled items destined to and from Hong Kong.  Prior to exporting items controlled on the Commerce Control List (CCL) for national security (NS), missile technology (MT), nuclear nonproliferation (NP column 1), or chemical and biological weapons (CB) reasons, exporters are required to obtain a copy of a Hong Kong import license or a written statement from the Hong Kong government that such a license is not required, which may take the form of website guidance from TID.  The same requirements apply for reexport of U.S.-origin items from Hong Kong.  More information on this requirement can be found at: https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/policy-guidance/foreign-import-export-license-requirements/hong-kong.

BIS Counseling Desks:

  • (202) 482-4811 - Outreach and Educational Services Division (located in Washington, DC – open Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5:00 pm ET);
  • (949) 660-0144 - Western Regional Office (located in Irvine, CA – open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm PT);
  • 408) 998-8806 - Northern California branch (located in San Jose, CA – open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm PT); or
  • E-mail your inquiry to the Export Counseling Division of the Office of Exporter Services at ECDOEXS@bis.doc.gov.

BIS Export Control Office Hong Kong

Tel:  (+852) 2521 1467