U.S. Export Controls
The United States imposes export controls to protect national security interests and promote foreign policy objectives. The U.S. also participates in various multilateral export control regimes to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and prevent destabilizing accumulations of conventional weapons and related material.
Bureau of Industry and Security
- The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) administers U.S. laws, regulations and policies governing the export and reexport of commodities, software, and technology (collectively “items”) falling under the jurisdiction of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The primary goal of BIS is to advance national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system, and promoting continued U.S. strategic technology leadership. BIS also enforces anti-boycott laws and coordinates with U.S. agencies and other countries on export control, nonproliferation and strategic trade issues.
- BIS is responsible for implementing and enforcing the EAR, which regulate the export, reexport, and transfer (in-country) of items with commercial uses that can also be used in conventional arms, weapons of mass destruction, terrorist activities, or human rights abuses, and less sensitive military items.
- BIS’s Export Administration (EA) reviews license applications for exports, reexports, transfers and deemed exports (technology transfers to foreign nationals in the United States) subject to the EAR. Through its Office of Exporter Services, EA provides information on BIS programs, conducts seminars on complying with the EAR, and provides guidance on licensing requirements and procedures.
- EA’s Office of Technology Evaluation (OTE) analyzes U.S. export data on items subject to the EAR, BIS license application data, and global trade information to assess data trends. OTE’s data portal provides excerpts from statistical reports, along with data sets to enable the public to perform analyses of exports and licensing on its own.
Contacting BIS on Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
- U.S. exporters should consult the EAR for information on how export license requirements may apply to the sale of their items. If necessary, a commodity classification request may be submitted in order to obtain BIS assistance in determining how an item is controlled (i.e., the item’s classification) and the applicable licensing policy. Exporters may also request a written advisory opinion from BIS about application of the EAR to a specific situation. Information on commodity classifications, advisory opinions, and export licenses can be obtained through the BIS website at www.bis.doc.gov or by contacting the Office of Exporter Services at the following numbers:
Washington, D.C. Tel: (202) 482-4811 Fax: (202) 482-3322
Western Regional Office Tel: (949) 660-0144 Fax: (949) 660-9347
BIS Export Enforcement
- BIS’s Export Enforcement (EE) is responsible for the 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. In accordance with the EAR, BIS officials conduct site visits, also 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 party to a transaction to determine whether it is a reliable recipient of U.S. items. 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 recipient(s) of items subject to the EAR, to include: confirming their legitimacy and reliability relating to the end use and end user; monitoring their compliance with license conditions; and ensuring such items are used and/or re-exported or transferred (in-country) in accordance with the EAR.
- BIS officials rely on EUCs to safeguard items subject to the EAR from diversion to unauthorized end uses/users. 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 reviews or be designated on BIS’s Unverified List or Entity List, as applicable.
Key BIS Resources:
- List of “red flags,” or warning signs, intended to discover possible violations of the EAR.
- FY 19 BIS Seminar Schedule. BIS offers a variety of training sessions ranging from one to two-day seminars. Sessions focus on the basics of exporting as well as more advanced topics.
Further Background on the EAR and Consolidated Screening List
- The EAR does not regulate transactions involving all U.S. goods, services, and technologies. Other U.S. Government agencies regulate more specialized exports. For example, the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has authority over defense articles and services. 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 Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) website.
- 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 API 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 potential parties to regulated transactions. It also consolidates a number of smaller lists of restricted parties maintained by several U.S. Government agencies, including the Department of Commerce. Learn more about the Consolidated Screening List, or sign up for email alerts that the list has been updated. Search the Consolidated Screening List.