Overview of Export Control
Export Control Regulations (ECR) constitute a body of law enacted by the federal government to protect national and economic security and advance U.S. foreign policy goals by prohibiting the unlicensed transfer of items that are subject to trade restrictions or have proprietary, military, or economic applications to foreign nationals.
A number of federal agencies and departments have a degree of responsibility for administering and enforcing ECR, however, primary jurisdiction resides within the Departments of Treasury, State, and Commerce, specifically:
- The Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against known terrorists, narcotics traffickers, proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (as named on the Specially Designated Nationals & Blocked Persons List), as well as targeted foreign countries and regimes that are hostile to the U.S. (as identified on the Country Sanctions List).
- The Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), through the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), controls the permanent and temporary export, re-export/re-transfer, and temporary import of defense articles and defense services covered by the United States Munitions List (USML), and restricts exports of any ITAR-controlled items to individuals and entities subject to Foreign Assets Controls or Nonproliferation Sanctions or identified on the Debarred List, or any OFAC or EAR entity lists.
- The Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), through the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), controls the export and re-export/re-transfer of dual-use items covered by the Commerce Control List (CCL). It also restricts exports of any EAR-controlled items to individuals and entities subject to Foreign Assets Control or Department of State Nonproliferation Sanctions or exports identified on the Denied Persons Lists, Entity List, Unverified List, or any OFAC or ITAR entity lists.
Impact of Export Control Regulations on University Activities
Export control regulations apply to the transfer of controlled items to foreign nationals by actual shipment out of the U.S., and also by transfer of controlled technology/technical data and/or encryption software by written, oral, or visual release or disclosure to foreign nationals both in- and outside of U.S. borders. Consequently, export controls can impact University activities on-campus as well as abroad, including:
- International travel, fieldwork & conferences
- International shipping
- International financial transactions
- Hosting a foreign visitor/scholar
- Foreign national participation in research activities
- International collaboration
- Using 3rd party proprietary information/restricted materials
- Teaching courses abroad or online
Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security requires all new, renewed, or amended H-1B, H-1B1 Chile/Singapore, L-1, and O-1A visa petitions filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) include a Certification Regarding the Release of Controlled Technology or Technical Data to Foreign Persons in the United States (PDF).
Violations of export control regulations carry potential criminal, civil, and administrative penalties for the University and the individual researcher or staff member. Penalties can range from fines in the millions of dollars and imprisonment for as much as 30 years, to the revocation or denial of licenses, seizure & forfeiture of goods, and debarment from all government contracting. Don’t Let This Happen to You! (PDF)
It is critical for University researchers, research team members, and support staff to be aware, and understand the implications of export controls for University activities; be sufficiently schooled in the regulations to recognize potential export control issues; and contact the Export Control Officer immediately when an export control concern arises.
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