Agencies Welcome Comments on Export Control Reform Changes

By George W. Thompson

“Export control reform”, in my view, constitutes a noble effort to rationalize the decades of over-regulation that were embedded in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The Commerce and State Departments have sought to equate the level of control with the importance (from a national security standpoint) of particular goods and technology.  They also have attempted to better identify  the items falling in their jurisdiction.

export control reformThe agencies are soliciting comments regarding those efforts for the second group of export control reform changes, which were effective on January 6, 2014.  They involved revisions to United States Munitions List (USML) Categories VI (surface vessels of war and special naval equipment), VII (ground vehicles), XIII (materials and miscellaneous articles) and XX (submersible vessels and related articles).

Positive List of Items

In keeping with the overall structure of export control reform, these categories now provide a “positive list” of items that were determined to provide a critical military advantage to the United States, thus warranting the higher level of scrutiny afforded under the ITAR.  Less critical items were moved to the CCL, under provisions specifically for military items.

The two agencies now seek feedback regarding the effectiveness of their efforts.

Comments Wanted by Agencies

State wants to ensure that Categories VI, VII, XIII and XX provide clear guidance on what they control, exclude items in normal commercial use and are up to date in coverage.  With that goal, the agency seeks comments on the following points:

  1. Emerging and new technologies that are appropriately controlled by one of the referenced categories, but which are not currently described in the subject categories or not described with sufficient clarity.
  2. Defense articles that are described in subject categories, but which have entered into normal commercial use since the most recent revisions to the category at issue. For such comments, be sure to include documentation to support claims that defense articles have entered into normal commercial use.
  3. Defense articles for which commercial use is proposed, intended, or anticipated in the next five years.
  4. Drafting or other technical issues in the text of either of the referenced categories.

Commerce, too, is soliciting comments, regarding:

 . . . the clarity, usability and any other matters related to implementation of the “600 series” Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs) that control the following items, as well as certain items related thereto: military vehicles (ECCNs 0A606, 0B606, 0C606, 0D606, and 0E606); vessels of war  (ECCNs 8A609, 8B609, 8C609, 8D609, and 8E609); submersible vessels and  oceanographic equipment (ECCNs 8A620, 8B620, 8D620, and 8E620); and  auxiliary and miscellaneous military equipment (ECCNs 0A617, 0B617, 0C617, 0D617, and 0E617). . . . In addition, through this notice of inquiry, BIS is independently seeking comments on how to improve the implementation of the aforementioned “600 series” ECCNs on the CCL.

Exporters Should Raise Concerns

This solicitation provides manufacturers and exporters of items controlled in these provisions to raise any concerns they may have about the USML and CCL descriptions.  The permissible topics are far-ranging, and can cover, for example, whether a particular item should be covered in one or the other or neither; does the descriptive language provide predictability about what’s in and what’s out; and are forthcoming products adequately anticipated in the current language.

Comments are due by December 8, 2015.



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