Includes the U.S. government export controls that companies need to abide by when exporting to this country.
The United States imposes export controls to protect national security interests and promote foreign policy objectives.
Export Controls and Export Licenses
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 the 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, counseling 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, including: 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 of these 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 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)
Other Export Control Regimes
The U.S. Government actively participates in multilateral export control regimes to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the accumulation of conventional weapons. Exporters should be certain of the export control requirements for the country or countries through which their products or services will travel and be used.
The Wassenaar Arrangement is a key multilateral export regime. It came into effect in September 1996 and is the first global multilateral arrangement on conventional weapons exports, dual-use goods and technologies, and munitions. The Wassenaar Arrangement promotes transparency and information-sharing to prevent global security risks from trading in these products and technologies. The 42 signatory countries agree to maintain effective export controls on materials such as software, industrial metals, chemicals, satellite technologies, surveillance equipment, encryption technologies, sensors, avionics, lasers, and components, among many other items. It also determines specific information requirements on arms transfers covered by the U.N. Conventional Arms Registry.
Both Mexico and the United States are part of the Wassenaar Arrangement. The complete listing of products covered is available at https://www.wassenaar.org/.
Other multilateral regimes including the Missile Technology Control Regime, Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Australia Group. The BIS website has more information on these other export control regimes.
If your company is interested in learning more about U.S export licenses, please contact the Trade Specialist in your nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center.
Please also note that international conditions sometimes may interfere with normal exports licenses processing time frames and, depending on specific circumstances, may imply a deeper evaluation of export license applications.