What Are Export Controls?


What Are Export Controls?


Export controls are federal laws and regulations that govern exports of certain commodities, technologies, services, and money to foreign countries. Export controls also regulate disclosures of certain kinds of information—including research data—to non-U.S. persons. Some exports and disclosures require special permissions (usually in the form of a license) from a federal agency.

There are three primary sources of regulations that govern exports of different kinds of commodities and information:

  • The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) govern exports of military technologies. The technologies controlled by the ITAR are found on the United States Munitions List. The ITAR also control information required for the development or operation of military technologies. Technologies controlled by the ITAR are the most sensitive and therefore the most tightly controlled. Every export of an ITAR-controlled item requires permission from the State Department.
  • The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) control exports of "dual-use" items and technologies. Dual-use items are items that have primarily civilian or commercial applications but can be adapted for military use. Dual-use items can be found on the Commerce Control List. EAR-controlled items are less sensitive than ITAR-controlled items, so not all exports require a license. Rather, the Commerce Departments' licensing requirements are based on the nature of the item, the destination country, the recipient, and the recipients intended use of the item.
  • The Foreign Assets Control Regulations (also known as the Office of Foreign Assets Control or OFAC Regulations) control exports, travel, and financial transactions involving embargoed countries. Many transactions, including research and teaching collaborations, require special permission from OFAC. The terms of these embargoes differ by country, but you should exercise caution when proposing traveling to or collaborating with someone in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, the Republic of Sudan (also called North Sudan), or Syria.

There are additional rules related to the exports of technologies in more specialized areas. If your research involves nuclear energy, pharmaceuticals, or collaborations with foreign militaries, please contact the Export Compliance Officer for further guidance on these topics.

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