What are Export Controls?
Export controls are government restrictions imposed on the international movement of merchandise and information. Governments impose export controls for numerous reasons, for example, to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regulate the movement of conventional weaponry and keep advanced technology from geopolitical rivals. Export controls may be imposed based on national laws as well as international agreements, such as the Wassenaar Arrangement (for dual-use items), Australia Group (chemical weapons), Missile Technology Control Regime (nuclear-capable missiles) and Nuclear Suppliers Group (nuclear technology).
The United States has established a complex system export controls, with numerous commodities and related technologies designated as “controlled” and a potentially bewildering set of rules regarding the countries, purchasers, end-users and end-uses to which exports can take place. The U.S. rules, unlike those of most other countries, apply extraterritorially to U.S.-origin products and technologies. They also are administered by different agencies. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Commerce Department handles most “dual use” items and the trade embargoes on Cuba and Syria, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) of the State Department administers controls on trade in most “munitions” and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department administers financial and trade sanctions. Each agency has its own procedures and requirements; determining which one has jurisdiction over a particular transaction can be a daunting task.
Export control requirements are not voluntary. U.S. and foreign companies that commit violations, even inadvertently, may be penalized through monetary fines. In severe cases, they can lose export privileges – be entirely barred from U.S. export trade – and be criminally charged.
Legal Assistance with Export Control Laws and Regulations
I have assisted clients in navigating the export control maze for two decades, starting at the time BIS issued a major revision to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) in 1995. My work as an export control attorney involves counseling U.S. and foreign companies, trade groups and universities on the EAR, DDTC’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and OFAC’s sanctions regulations. In particular, I help clients establish and maintain compliance programs, classify their goods and technology under the Commerce Control List (CCL) and United States Munitions List (USML), determine applicable restrictions on trade with particular countries and persons and obtain export permission in the form of licenses and DDTC agreements.
In situations where a possible violation has occurred, I have obtained favorable results for clients through voluntary disclosures and defense of penalty proceedings. In recent years, I have guided clients in adapting to changes resulting from export control reform. My expertise extends to specialty areas, such as controls on encryption hardware and software and application of the Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Regulations. My practical background in the area has been bolstered by teaching a graduate school course on Export Controls and Compliance.
In short, if you are seeking export control guidance, look no further. Contact me using the simple form below, or call my office at 202-772-2039