Export Control Policies and Regulations

U.S. Export Control regulations are complex and often overlap across several US agencies. The following will summarize the most commonly encountered regulations. Remember that some unique situations may have more complex requirements. 

Accordion Content

  • Export Administration Regulations (EAR) 

    U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) administers Export Administration Regulations (EAR) which are related to the control of certain exports, re-exports, and activities. EAR contains rules governing the export of dual use goods and goods that are not controlled by other regulations. Note: a “dual-use” item is one that has civil applications as well as terrorism and military or weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related applications. The precise description of what is “subject to the EAR” is in § 734.3.

    This agency also maintains various lists of individuals, companies, or other organizations whose US export privileges have been restricted or revoked. The lists include both US and foreign individuals and organizations. Some of these lists include:

    Where embargoed countries are involved (see OFAC Sanctions Program below), a license will be denied.

    EAR implements anti-boycott law provisions requiring regulations to prohibit specified conduct by United States persons that has the effect of furthering or supporting boycotts fostered or imposed by a country against a country friendly to United States.

    EAR also controls the export of certain software, technological know-how and even certain business practices such as contracting, financing and shipping.

    International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

    U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) interprets and enforces International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). These regulations control the export and import of defense-related articles, services and technology on the U.S. Munitions List (USML). ITAR also maintain a list of “Prohibited exports, imports, and sales to or from certain countries” which forbids access to defense articles, including technical data, or who may be providing defense services exports and imports destined for or originating in certain countries. To view the current regulations which contain a list of these countries, review ITAR §126.1. In addition to controlling exports of physical items and technical data, the ITAR also regulates the training of foreign military units and forces by U.S. persons.  Such activities are known as “Defense Services”. 

    These regulations include:

    Some examples of ITAR regulated items include: everything on U.S. Munitions List ■ Weapons, ammunition, explosives, propellants, chemical, biological, toxicological agents, some spacecraft, satellites, missiles, torpedoes, bombs, mines, aircraft, ships and submersibles, tanks, fire control, guidance and control equipment, military electronics, protective personnel equipment, materials, component, technical data (including software), and services ■ Some infrared cameras, night vision technology, rocket motors, some robotics software, long range UAVs, some imaging focal plane arrays, some radars, some cryptography, all satellites and related technology.

    OFAC Sanctions Lists

    U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.

    OFAC maintains a list of Sanctions Programs and the Specially Designated Nationals List. The scope of the boycott program depends on the country involved and is subject to change.

    ***Research may not be conducted in sanctioned countries unless permitted by the US Government.