Export Controls and Regulatory Agencies

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Who Controls What Kind of Exports?

We are responsible for identifying projects that may have foreign national or export restrictions and analyzing what activities subject SI to the controls of the:

Agencies That Regulate Controlled Items or Data

A number of government agencies have various responsibilities for export controls. Each exercises administrative control over specific types of technology or restricted trade. The following are those most relevant to SAO and NASM:

Department of State

The Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls administers the export of "defense articles and defense services" under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), including all space-related activities. In coordination with the Department of Defense, the State Department determines if an article or service is subject to export control based upon whether the item or technology:

  • (1) is inherently military in character, or
  • (2) was specially designed, modified, or engineered for military applications. If so, the item or technical information is placed on the U.S. Munitions List.

The US Munitions List (USML) includes such obvious items as firearms, ammunition, and explosives. It also includes all military vehicles (land, air, and sea); spacecraft (including nonmilitary satellites, space qualitied adaptive optics, mirrors); launch vehicles; military and space electronics; protective personnel equipment; guidance and control equipment and components; refer to Category XV-Spacecraft Systems and Associated Equipment (of particular interest to SAO and NASM). Export of any item on the U.S. Munitions List requires specific authorization of the State Department.

SAO is registered with the Department of State to obtain necessary export/import licenses.

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Department of Commerce

The Department of Commerce controls the export of all commodities, technologies, and software not regulated by another government agency. This is done through the Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which regulates "dual use" commercial items and items that have a strategic purpose with respect to national security, foreign policy, missile technology, proliferation, regional stability and crime control. The BIS maintains an extensive, multi-volume manual of Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

Key to the EAR is the Commerce Control List (CCL) (Categories 6 [Lasers & Sensors] & 9 [Propulsion Systems, Space Vehicles] may be of particular interest to SAO). This is a section of the EAR that lists specific commodities and their related technologies and the countries to which they may or may not be exported, along with any special restrictions or exceptions that may apply. There can be confusing overlap between items on the Commerce Control List and items on the U.S. Munitions List. The SAO/ECO can help determine the appropriate controlling agency.

For more information, see:

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Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control administers sanctions programs involving the Balkans, Belarus, Burundi, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rough Diamond Trading (Kimberley Process), Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe, as well as highly enriched uranium, persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism, international narcotics traffickers, Foreign Terrorist Organizations, Terrorism List Governments, transnational criminal organizations, and weapons of mass destruction and missile proliferators and their supporters.

The BIS has a section on their website for Trade Sanctions.

  • OFAC's website: http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/
  • BIS's website: http://www.bis.doc.gov/PoliciesAndRegulations/regionalconsiderations.htm
U.S. law in this area frequently changes in accordance with an evolving foreign policy. It is important to be familiar with the restrictions that apply to the ultimate destination of your export.

The sanctions can be either comprehensive or selective, using the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security goals.

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Agencies that Regulate Imports and Exports

Bureau of Census, Foreign Trade Division

  • Records balance of trade, requires export filing for all tangible exports that require an export license or if the value is over $2500. (Tools of the trade that are staying with the traveler do not need to be declared.)
  • Regulations: 30 CFR Foreign Trade Regulations applies when you export items--tools of the trade, items for testing, or returns.

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US Customs and Border Protection

U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilitates trillions in legitimate trade while enforcing U.S. trade laws that protect the economy, the health and the safety of the American people. CBP deploys the government's largest law enforcement work force to protect at and between ports of entry, supported by air and marine assets. They have local offices than can decide to visit SI.

When a shipment reaches the United States, the importer of record (i.e., the owner, purchaser, or licensed customs broker designated by the owner, purchaser, or consignee) will file entry documents for the goods with the port director at the goods' port of entry. Imported goods are not legally entered until after the shipment has arrived within the port of entry, delivery of the merchandise has been authorized by CBP, and estimated duties have been paid. It is the importer of record's responsibility to arrange for examination and release of the goods.

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If you have further questions, please contact the Export Compliance Officer.


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