Export control laws & regulations

In general, the export control regulations cover four main types of university activities:

  1. transfers of controlled information, including technical data, to persons and entities outside the United States;
  2. shipment of controlled physical items, such as scientific equipment, that require export licenses from the United States to a foreign country;
  3. verbal, written, electronic, or visual disclosures of controlled scientific and technical information related to export controlled items to foreign nationals (“deemed exports”), even when it occurs within the United States; and
  4. transactions with sanctioned or embargoed countries or restricted or debarred individuals or entities.

Federal Regulations on Export Control

The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) are implemented by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) within the Department of Commerce. The EAR regulates the export of “dual use” goods and services (goods and services having both military and civilian uses) that are identified on the Commerce Control List (CCL). These are items that are not inherently military in nature; they are primarily commercial items with potential military uses.

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) are implemented by the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). These regulations apply to articles, services, and related technical data that are inherently military in nature, as determined by the State Department. These “defense articles,” "defense services,” and related “technical data” are listed on the U.S. Munitions List (USML). Some articles and technologies that are not readily identifiable as inherently military in nature—for example, research satellites or small, research submersibles—are included on the USML.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) implements the economic and trade sanctions and, based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals, targets foreign countries, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The university typically encounters issues arising under the OFAC regulations when researchers engage in collaborations with foreign nationals overseas or seek to teach classes or perform research in foreign countries.

Export Control Licensing 

Export control laws are in place to protect U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic interests without imposing undue regulatory burdens on legitimate international trade. An export control license is the U.S. government mechanism to allow and trace transfers of export controlled technologies. License requests must be submitted to the specific federal agency responsible.

To determine if a license is required, four questions must be answered:

  1. What is the item?
  2. Where is it going?
  3. Who is receiving it?
  4. How will it be used? 

If a researcher has a project/technology that is export controlled and needs an export license to proceed, he/she must curtail the activity until a review to determine if an exception or exclusion applies or if a license is required. Note that "deemed exports" may also require a license.

Requests for an export license must be initiated and coordinated through your location Export Control Officer. ITAR licenses are coordinated with the location Export Control Officer and submitted by the UC Office of the President through Ethics, Compliance and Audit Services

License reviews, application and approvals or denials can take up to 3-6 months (or longer for OFAC) before a final determination is made. Each license is for a specific export transaction.