The United States imposes export controls to protect national security interests and promote foreign policy objectives related to dual-use items and less-sensitive military items through the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (15 CFR Parts 730-774). The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is responsible for regulating, implementing, and enforcing export controls for such dual-use items and less sensitive military items. Within BIS, 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 the export, reexport and transfer (in-country) of items subject to the EAR are accomplished in compliance with the regulations.
BIS officials conduct site visits, known as End Use Checks (EUCs), globally with end users, consignees, and/or other parties related to transactions involving items subject to the EAR, and shipped under a license or another form of BIS authorization, to verify compliance with the EAR and the conditions of the license or authorization. An EUC is an on-site verification of a 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 the BIS 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 their legitimacy and reliability of the end use and end user; monitoring compliance with license conditions; and ensuring items are exported, reexported 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 during a Post-Shipment Verification (PSV), regardless of whether or not a BIS license is 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 during 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 reviews or be designated on the BIS Unverified List or Entity List, as applicable.
Guidance and Training
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 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’s online training site. BIS Export Control Officers (ECOs) located at U.S. embassies and consulates in seven overseas locations also conduct outreach to raise awareness of reexport and transfer (in-country) requirements with foreign business communities.
Commerce Control List
The EAR regulates transactions involving the export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) of “dual-use” and less sensitive military items (commodities, software, and technology) as well as certain activities of U.S. citizens. Items subject to BIS jurisdiction include items found on the Commerce Control List (supplement no. 1 to part 774 of the EAR) (CCL). Items on the CCL are listed under individual entry by Export Control Classification Number (ECCN). The EAR also regulates items designated as ‘EAR99’ (a broad basket category of items generally consisting of low-technology consumer goods not listed under an ECCN on the CCL but subject to BIS jurisdiction). For advice and regulatory requirements on items under the export control jurisdiction of other U.S. Government (USG) agencies, exporters should consult those agencies. For example, the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has authority over the defense articles and defense services that are not subject to the EAR. A list of other agencies involved in export control can be found on the BIS website or 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.
Consolidated Screening List
The Consolidated Screening List (CSL), available on the International Trade Administration’s Trade.gov website, is a list of parties for which the United States Government maintains restrictions or prohibitions on certain exports, reexports, or transfers of items. The CSL consolidates 11 export screening lists implemented by the Departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury into a single data feed as an aid to industry in conducting electronic screening 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, D.C., 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)
For more detail information related to U.S. trade with Mexico where the BIS is involved, please review the following report: Statistical Analysis of US trade with Mexico
You may also email 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
Other Export Control Regimes
The USG actively participates in multilateral export control regimes to prevent 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 trade in these products and technologies. The 42 signatory countries agree to maintain effective exports controls on materials such as certain types of 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 at 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 licenses applications.