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Export Control of Technology

What are the Export Control Laws?

Export Control Laws (ECLs) broadly describe a comprehensive series of regulations enforced by the Federal Government concerning the export of certain controlled technologies. The regulatory scheme encompassing ECLs requires certain technologies to be controlled because: 1) the nature or type of technology has potential military applications; 2) the nature or type of technology raises some sort of trade/economic protection issue; 3) there are concerns about the country, organization, individual or "end user" of the technology requiring control.

As mentioned, ECLs involve a number of different regulations. The three major regulatory schemes in place governing ECLs are the Export Administration Regulations or EAR, administered by the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security; the International Traffic in Arms Regulations or ITAR, administered by the Department of State; and the Office of Foreign Asset Control or OFAR, administered by the Department of Treasury.


What do the Export Control Laws (ECLs) cover?

ECLs control the conditions under which certain information, technologies, and commodities can be shipped shared or transmitted ("export") overseas to anyone, including U.S. citizens, or to a foreign national on U.S. soil. In the same manner, such controls can extend to interactions with foreign corporations. Most commonly, the control would involve obtaining a "license" from the Federal Government prior to exporting of any controlled technologies.


What is the definition of an "export"?

The term export when used in the context of ECLs is much broader than the standard notion of a tangible item being shipped out of the United States. Under ECLs, the term export includes any: (1) actual shipment of any covered goods or items; (2) the electronic or digital transmission of any covered goods, items or related goods or items; (3) any release or disclosure, including verbal disclosures or visual inspections, of any technology, software or technical data to any foreign national; or (4) actual use or application of covered technology on behalf of or for the benefit of a foreign entity or person anywhere.

The term "export" can mean not only technology leaving the shores of the United States (including transfer to a U.S. citizen abroad whether or not it is pursuant to a research agreement with the U.S. government), but also transmitting the technology to an individual other than a U.S. citizen or permanent resident within the United States (a "deemed export"). Even a discussion with a foreign researcher or student in a campus laboratory is considered a "deemed export." Export controls preclude the participation of all foreign nationals in research that involves covered technology without first obtaining a license from the appropriate government agency.

When an item is controlled, a license may be required before the technology can be exported. This requirement relates not only to tangible items (prototypes or software) but also to the research results themselves. There are certain countries where it is the policy of the United States generally to deny licenses for the transfer of these items. These countries are currently: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Vietnam, and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).


U.S. Export Control Regulations

For assistance with Export Control issues contact the ORSP Service Center at  orsp@ohio.edu  or call 740.597.6777 (ORSP).