Archive for the ‘BIS’ Category

Do You Attend BIS Update (Annual Conference)?

2018/10/30

The Bureau of Industry and Security has created a form on their website asking for topic, content, or format suggestions for the upcoming 2019 annual conference. You can do so at: https://bis.doc.gov/index.php/component/rsform/form/41-bis-annual-conference-2019-suggestion-form


Export Controls & ECR Report

2018/10/30

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released “The U.S. Export Control System and the Export Control Reform Initiative” providing a full report on several aspects of the US export control system. The report provides background on policies and the possible future systems but with very few details (Congress will debate on whether the regulations should eventually have only one licensing agency).

Full Report: https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R41916


The Export Control Reform Act and Possible New Controls on Emerging and Foundational Technologies

2018/09/27

By: Kevin Wolf, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, kwolf@akingump.com

(Former) Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration (2010-2017)

Key Points

ECRA became law on August 13, 2018. It is the permanent statutory authority for the EAR, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s BIS. The new law codifies long-standing BIS policies and does not require changes to the EAR, such as to its country-specific licensing requirements.

However, as part of the larger effort to reform the authorities governing CFIUS, the law effectively requires BIS to lead an interagency, regular order process to identify and add to the EAR controls on “emerging” and “foundational” technologies that are “essential to the national security of the United States.”

Although the types of emerging and foundational technologies to be identified are not yet publicly known, anyone involved in emerging and foundational technology areas, such as artificial intelligence, driverless vehicle technology, advanced computing, additive manufacturing or microelectronics, should begin preparing comments on possible new controls in line with the standards in the new law. Commerce will likely soon publish a notice seeking such comments, and the formal comment period will likely be short relative to the complexity and the significance of the issue. The submission of thoughtful and well-supported industry comments will be absolutely critical to the creation of properly scoped and clearly described controls that are consistent with the statutory standards.

  1. Introduction

The Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA) and the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) became law on August 13, 2018, as part of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (NDAA). One of the primary policy motivations behind both acts was the need to enhance U.S. export and investment controls to address concerns regarding the release of critical technologies to end uses, end users and destinations of concern, primarily China. (FIRRMA is described in a prior alert.)

Another motive behind ECRA was the creation of permanent statutory authority for the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The EAR primarily control the export, reexport, and transfer of commercial, dual-use and less sensitive military items to end users, end uses and destinations of concern. They also include the antiboycott regulations that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) administers. Part I of ECRA is titled “Export Controls Act of 2018” (ECA) and is the authority for the administration of the export controls that BIS administers. Part II of ECRA is titled “Anti-Boycott Act of 2018” and is the authority for the antiboycott regulations that BIS administers.

For most of the last two decades, the statutory authority for the EAR—the Export Administration Act of 1979—has been defunct. The EAR have been kept in effect through Executive Orders and an emergency declaration issued under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) that was renewed by annual presidential notices. (A description of this issue, the export control system generally and the issues motivating the introduction of the legislation can be found in the March 2018 testimony of Kevin Wolf before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.)

The new law essentially codifies existing written and unwritten BIS practices, policies and definitions as they have evolved since 1979. It also gives BIS enforcement officials more authority to investigate possible violations of the EAR. Because the new law essentially preserves the status quo from an exporter’s perspective and does not, for example, change any country-specific licensing policies, it is primarily of interest to export control practitioners. It, however, includes one section, Section 1758, that should be of particular interest to those who do not normally consider themselves affected by the EAR (i.e., those involved in the development or export of emerging and foundational technologies that are not now identified in the EAR or other export control regulations).

  1. ECA Section 1758 Requires the Administration to Identify and Control in the Export Control Regulations Emerging and Foundational Technologies of Concern

BIS has always had the authority to impose unilateral controls on items for national security and foreign policy reasons. (Unilateral controls are those that only the United States imposes, as opposed to controls that BIS publishes to implement agreements of the multilateral export control regimes.) In 2012, BIS provided more structure around the process of identifying and imposing unilateral controls when it created the “0Y521” series. As further described in this notice, BIS has the authority to impose controls over the export of any previously uncontrolled commodity, software or technology that provides the United States with at least a significant military or intelligence advantage, or for any foreign policy reason, so long as the government works to make the controls multilateral within three years (i.e., to get our regime allies to control the same item). The 2012 notice stated that such items are “typically emerging technologies.”

Section 1758 of the ECA essentially codifies this regulatory process and gives the administration a statutory mandate to make the effort a priority. This statutory instruction evolved in response to concerns about a key element of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reform legislation, FIRRMA, which, as introduced, would have given CFIUS jurisdiction over outbound investments, such as overseas joint ventures, by U.S. critical technology companies that would involve the transfer of intellectual property and associated support. The sponsors’ policy objective with this provision was to give the U.S. government the opportunity to determine and, if necessary, alter or block such outbound investments if they could result in the release of critical emerging or foundational technologies not controlled by the export control system. (More detail about this issue can be found here.)

Over the course of many congressional hearings and other discussions, a consensus emerged that addressing the concern through CFIUS would result in both over-controls and under-controls. The approach would have been an over-control because many benign outbound investments would become subject to CFIUS jurisdiction, which would have placed unnecessary burdens on CFIUS and U.S. industry, and would likely have discouraged welcome foreign investments. It would have been an under-control because it would have regulated only the transfer of the newly identified critical technologies in connection with a covered investment, meaning that the identical technologies could have been legally transferred without government oversight to a foreign person as part of any other type of transaction, such as a simple purchase-and-sale arrangement. The solution was to require the already existing dual-use export control system to put more effort into identifying emerging and foundational technologies of concern and to control their export to end uses, end users and destinations of concern regardless of the nature of the underlying investment.

  1. Technologies Likely to Be Considered “Emerging” or “Foundational”

Congress did not define the terms “emerging” or “foundational” technologies “essential to national security,” but the public debate over the legislation provided hints as to the general areas of concern. During the discussions about CFIUS and export control reform bills, and related public discussions about CFIUS cases and China’s plans to acquire technologies pursuant to its “Made in China 2025” plan, emerging and foundational technologies, such as the following, were informally cited as warranting consideration for possible new controls:

  • artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • augmented reality
  • automated machine tools
  • additive manufacturing
  • autonomous vehicles
  • advanced battery technology
  • “big data”
  • biotechnology
  • gene editing
  • high-temperature superconducting technology
  • hydrogen and fuel cells
  • integrated circuits, semiconductors and microelectronics
  • intelligent mobile terminals
  • nanotechnology
  • robotics

Neither Congress nor the administration has published any sort of list of technologies that are under review or that should be studied. BIS, however, is likely to publish a notice soon, seeking information from the public about broad categories of technologies that potentially warrant control and how the controls could be worded to satisfy the requirements of Section 1758. Consistent with past BIS practice, this notice would not be a proposed rule. Rather, it would be a formal tool for the government to solicit industry input as part of its efforts to identify what technologies should and should not be the subject of possible new controls in a proposed rule to be published later. Industry’s role in this process is critical. Thoughtful and well-supported comments will likely have a positive influence on the government’s efforts to identify which emerging and foundational technologies are and are not essential to our national security and otherwise within the scope of Section 1758.

  1. Questions to Answer for Comments to Be Provided to the Administration

Any formal comment period will be, or will seem, short relative to the complexity and the significance of the issues. Because, as discussed below, Section 1758 foreshadows the questions that will likely be asked in such a notice, those potentially affected by new controls do not need to wait for the notice to be published before internally answering the following questions:

  • Which of the company’s technologies that are not now identified on an export control list (a) are essential to national security or (b) might be deemed so by the administration, particularly in light of the debate over FIRRMA?

 

  • Which such technologies are and are not being developed outside the United States?

 

  • Would research on, and development of, such technologies in the United States be affected if the government were to impose unilateral export controls on such technologies, including on their release to foreign persons in the United States?

 

  • Would unilateral controls on the release of such technologies to foreign persons in the United States or to foreign countries be effective at deterring their transfer to countries of concern?

 

  • Would export control regime allies, such as those in Europe, likely eventually agree to impose controls on the release of such technologies from their countries?

Answers to these questions, and supporting documentation and analyses, will be vital to the preparation of quality comments filed in response to a notice.

III. Elements of Section 1758 – the ECA’s Emerging and Foundational Technologies Provision

  1. The process for identifying technologies must be an interagency process.

Some of the ideas floated during the FIRRMA debate would have given CFIUS or individual agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the authority to nominate and have controlled emerging and foundational technologies. The ECA requires the President to establish an interagency process to do so that involves the departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy and State, and any other necessary department or agency. The motive behind this provision was to ensure that the equities and expertise of all relevant agencies would be considered when identifying such technologies. Because BIS’s mission includes coordinating such interagency efforts, and because any new controls would be published in the EAR, which BIS administers, BIS has the lead role in the identification effort.

  1. The interagency emerging and foundational technology identification process must be a “regular, ongoing” effort.

This reference in the provision makes it clear that the identification and addition of new controls over emerging and foundational technologies is not just a one-time event. It is now, as a statutory matter, rather than just a standard interagency practice, a regular part of the U.S. export control system. The technologies at issue are, by definition, emerging. They are not what the export control system has a history of controlling and analyzing. They are not technologies that have been specially designed for military or intelligence applications because such technologies are already controlled by either the EAR or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Thus, BIS and the other agencies are likely setting up more formal processes to regularly search for and, as needed, amend the export controls over commercial technologies of concern as they emerge.

  1. The emerging and foundational technologies to be identified are limited to those “essential to the national security of the United States.”

During the debates over the CFIUS and export control reform bills, there was some discussion about whether controls should be imposed on such technologies for purely economic reasons, such as for use as part of protectionist or industrial policy efforts. Export control statutes dating back to the Export Control Act of 1949 have expressly limited the reasons for control to national security, foreign policy and short supply. Although an administration has broad authority to define what constitutes a national security concern, the law conspicuously limits the scope of any new controls to not only those that would address “national security” concerns, but also to those that are “essential” to our national security.

  1. The emerging and foundational technologies to be identified must not include technologies that are already subject to export controls or that become subject to controls under other authorities.

This means that any technologies that are already identified in the export control regulations, primarily the EAR and the ITAR, or that would be added to such regulations later under other authorities, must not be part of the process described in Section 1758. The government thus still has extraordinary discretion to identify items for control, and none of that discretion is affected by this provision, which is focused on resolving a specific policy issue raised during the debate over FIRRMA. If Section 1758 were not included in the law, the administration would have the same authority to do what is required under Section 1758. The only difference is that Congress is requiring the administration to conduct the special effort and setting standards for how to do so.

  1. The interagency process must be informed by multiple sources of information, including (i) publicly available information, (ii) classified information, (iii) information developed during the CFIUS process and (iv) information developed by BIS’s technical advisory committees.

The export control system has always drawn upon such information sources when considering which technologies to control, but not always as part of a formal process. The provision is also a subtle congressional reminder to export control officials to ensure that they expand their technology review horizons over what are, by definition, novel, emerging technologies to get the benefit of those who may have contact with such technologies before they do. Thus, for example, it effectively requires export control officials to reach out to industry and academic experts who may not otherwise interact with the government. It also indirectly emphasizes the need for the intelligence community to commit resources to analyzing emerging technology issues and to provide its work product to export control officials for consideration.

The provision requires that technology issues generated during the review of CFIUS fillings be formally fed back into the export control system for broader consideration. The export control agencies are core members of CFIUS, and there is a long history of their considering whether issues developed during CFIUS cases warrant changes to export controls. The only difference now is that this practice is a formal, statutory requirement. Finally, the provision reconfirms the need for industry experts on BIS’s multiple technical advisory committees to provide their input to export control officials about emerging and foundational technologies. Indeed, BIS is in the process of creating an additional technical advisory committee to focus on such issues, as described here. For those with significant expertise in the emerging and foundational technologies at issue, participating in the new, or in any of the existing, technical advisory committees is a significantly important way to contribute to the quality of the controls.

  1. Before imposing new controls on an emerging or foundational technology, the government must consider whether comparable technologies are being developed outside the United States.

This provision does not prohibit the imposition of controls on technologies being developed outside the United States. When read with other parts of Section 1758, however, foreign availability is clearly an important variable the government must consider when deciding whether technologies should become subject to the new controls. Thus, when responding to BIS’s notices asking for comments on new technologies to control, those potentially affected should provide information about which comparable technologies are and are not being developed outside the United States. Such commercial information, which often is not available to the government, should be as specific as possible if it is to be effective. That is, conclusory comments, such as “This technology is widely available in many countries outside the United States” will not be helpful. Comments such as “This technology is available from Company A in Country X (brochures and specifications attached),” on the other hand, are what the government needs to see in order to make a sensible judgment about whether to impose new controls.

  1. Before imposing new controls on an emerging or foundational technology, the government must consider the effect that the imposition of a unilateral export control “may have on the development of such technologies in the United States.”

As a matter of logic, expectations and history, unilateral controls tend to discourage research and investment in the United States in the affected technologies. Indeed, the ECA states that “[e]xport controls applied unilaterally to items widely available from foreign sources generally are less effective in preventing end-users from acquiring those items. Application of unilateral export controls should be limited for purposes of protecting specific United States national security and foreign policy interests.” This does not mean that unilateral controls are per se prohibited or ineffective, only that this standard is a high bar for the government when deciding whether to propose a new unilateral control. Those in potentially affected industries will thus want to provide in their public comments a thoughtful analysis of whether—and how—a unilateral control over a specific emerging or foundational technology is or is not likely to harm the domestic development of such technologies.

  1. Before imposing new controls on an emerging or foundational technology, the government must consider whether they would be effective in “limiting the proliferation of emerging and foundational technologies to foreign countries.”

This standard is basically a corollary to the other provisions above, but it nonetheless emphasizes the point that imposing controls on technologies being developed outside the United States or with the substantial assistance in the U.S. of foreign scientists and engineers will not likely accomplish the objectives of this section. If commenters have any other reasons that a proposed new control would or would not be effective, then this is the statutory provision to cite in support of why it should or should not be imposed.

  1. Before any new controls may be imposed, the government must provide the public with a notice and an opportunity to comment.

This is the most critical step for industry to comment formally on actual regulatory text and whether the proposed controls do or do not meet the standards in Section 1758. Based on the experience of the Obama administration’s export control reform effort, which involved the publication of dozens of proposed rules for public comment, career staff at the agencies are likely to take well-supported, thoughtful comments seriously.

  1. The new controls will be published as amendments to the EAR.

Earlier versions of the CFIUS and the export control reform bills were unclear about whether or, if so, where new investment or export controls on emerging and foundational technologies would be published. Section 1758 effectively requires that they will be identified in the EAR’s Commerce Control List (CCL).

  1. BIS has broad authority to decide when, and under what circumstances, licenses or other types of authorizations will be required to export identified emerging and foundational technology.

Criteria that BIS, in coordination with the other agencies, must consider when imposing controls include whether the destination is subject to U.S. arms and other embargoes, as well as the potential end uses and end users of such technology. The group of countries subject to such embargoes includes China, Russia and Iran.

  1. Commerce is not required to impose licensing requirements on finished items that are destined to regular customers or on technology when the acquisition would not give the foreign recipient the ability to produce critical technologies.

This exception reflects the provision’s emphasis on emerging and foundational technologies, rather than finished products, that can be used to enhance the indigenous manufacturing capability outside the United States of items essential to U.S. national security.

  1. The Secretary of State, in coordination with the other export control agencies, is required to propose each year for three years any new controls to the relevant multilateral export control regimes for control.

This element of the control reflects Congress’ view that multilateral controls are more effective than unilateral controls. If the regimes do not accept a new control, then Commerce must decide whether national security concerns warrant the continuation of unilateral controls with respect to the technology at issue. Another part of ECA commits the U.S. government to “carry out obligations and commitments under international agreements and arrangements, including multilateral export control regimes.” The most relevant such regime to this issue is the Wassenaar Arrangement, which was “established in order to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations. The aim is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists. Participating States seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities.” Thus, to remain consistent with its obligations under ECA, the administration should propose only new controls on emerging or foundational technologies that meet this standard or one of the corresponding standards in the other multilateral regimes (i.e., those pertaining to controlling the proliferation of missiles, nuclear items, and chemical or biological weapons, and related items).

  1. Commerce must report to CFIUS and Congress every 180 days of the actions that it and the other agencies have taken to implement this section.

Normally, congressional reporting requirements do not get much public attention, but this regular obligation to show progress likely will keep the process for identifying and controlling emerging and foundational technologies high on the list of priorities for this and subsequent administrations. This fact further reinforces the need for industry to stay engaged with the government with respect to identifying emerging and foundational technologies that are and are not essential to the national security of the United States.

  1. BIS has broad authority to impose “interim controls” on exports and reexports of emerging or foundational technologies by specific persons.

The EAR contain multiple “is informed” provisions allowing BIS to inform parties that, to address a specific national security or foreign policy concern, a license is required to export an item that would not normally require a license. Section 1758 explicitly gives BIS the authority to create any form of interim controls, such as through the use of similar “is informed” actions imposing licensing requirements on the export by specific persons of specific technologies in a particular transaction, before regulations controlling such technologies are promulgated and made generally effective.

Used properly, this new authority could be a way for BIS to surgically address policy concerns about the transfer of specific kinds of technology in unique circumstances without imposing controls on entire types of technologies or destinations. Thus, for example, if BIS has information that a specific foreign entity plans to use a specific type of EAR99 technology deemed to be “emerging” or “foundational” that would be released during a joint venture for an activity contrary to U.S. national security interests, BIS could prohibit the technology transfer without having to sanction the foreign entity (such as by using the entity list process) or imposing an across-the-board control on the same technology for all exports. In a way, this new omnibus “is informed” authority, which is tucked into a parenthetical in Section 1758, is the broad authority that the proponents of the original FIRRMA bill contemplated when they sought to give CFIUS jurisdiction over outbound investments by critical technology companies. They wanted the U.S. government to have the authority to block otherwise uncontrolled technology transfers in specific circumstances on case-by-cases bases. Such authority now exists, but within BIS (rather than CFIUS) pursuant to Section 1758.

  1. The Statement of Policy Codifies Long-Standing BIS Policies—and Provides the Administration with Considerable Discretion in Administering the System

Section 1752 contains a lengthy statement of policy that may seem new to some, but fairly accurately reflects the written and unwritten licensing and other export control policies that have evolved within BIS since the Export Administration Act was passed in 1979. Some provisions may seem contradictory, but they are examples of the difficult choices that BIS and its interagency colleagues make daily when deciding which dual-use and other items to control, how to control them and when to approve, condition or deny their export.

For example, the section states that export controls should be used only after consideration of their impact on the U.S. economy and only to the extent necessary to advance the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. These interests require regulations to control the proliferation of items for use in weapons of mass destruction; acts of terrorism; or military programs that could threaten the United States or its allies, or that could disrupt critical infrastructure. They must also, for example, simultaneously (i) preserve the military superiority of the United States; (ii) promote human rights; (iii) carry out our commitments to the multilateral regimes; (iv) facilitate interoperability with our NATO and other close allies; (v) be focused on core technologies of concern; (vi) maintain U.S. leadership in science, engineering, manufacturing and technology, including foundational technologies; (vii) be enforced aggressively and consistently; (viii) be administered in a way that is able to be easily understood; and (ix) be transparent, predictable, timely and flexible.

  1. The Authority to Control Activities by U.S. Persons Is Codified and Slightly Expanded

Unlike the ITAR, the EAR does not have general controls over services provided by U.S. persons, except in connection with violations of the EAR—“General Prohibition 10.” Most of the EAR are focused on regulating the export, reexport and transfer by U.S. and foreign persons of commodities, software and technology subject to the EAR. EAR Part 744 has long regulated the activities of U.S. persons, regardless of whether any technology is transferred, if they relate to weapons of mass destruction or foreign maritime nuclear projects. Section 1753 adds specific authority for the EAR to regulate services by U.S. persons, wherever located, if they are related to “specific foreign military intelligence services.” It remains to be seen how, or whether, BIS will implement this new authority in the EAR.

  1. Licensing Considerations Regarding the Defense Industrial Base

Section 1756(d) requires BIS to deny an application if the proposed export would have a “significant negative impact” on the defense industrial base, which is defined as including (i) a reduction in the availability of an item produced in the United States that is likely to be acquired by the U.S. government for the advancement of U.S. national security, (ii) a reduction in the production in the United States of an item that is the result of federally funded research and development, or (iii) a reduction in the employment of U.S. persons whose knowledge and skills are necessary for the continued production in the United States of an item that is likely to be acquired by the U.S. government for the advancement of U.S. national security. To help make this determination, BIS may seek information from the applicant regarding, for example, why the proposed export would be in the national interest and what the impact would be on the relative capabilities of U.S. and foreign militaries. Although previous administrations took such considerations into account when making licensing decisions, this section describes the standard in a novel, formal way consistent with the underlying policy motivations behind FIRRMA.

VII. Required Review of Licensing Policies Regarding Exports to Countries Subject to Arms Embargoes, Such as China

Although the ECA does not change any country-specific licensing policies, it does require BIS, in coordination with the other export control agencies, to “review license requirements relating to countries subject to a comprehensive arms embargo.” The section does not refer expressly to China or any other country, but it is clearly focused on requiring an evaluation of whether (i) the EAR’s China “Military End Use” rule should be expanded to also apply to “military end users” in China or additional items on the control list not now captured by the rule, and (ii) additional low-end items controlled for “anti-terrorism” reasons to only Iran and other comprehensively embargoed destinations should also be controlled for export to China. BIS must implement any recommended changes before early May 2019. Such changes are likely to occur.

VIII. Penalties and Enforcement

Section 1760 of the ECA codifies civil and criminal penalties that were established under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The maximum criminal penalties for willful violations will continue to be $1 million and, for individuals, imprisonment of up to 20 years. Maximum civil penalties will be slightly higher than the current inflation-adjusted penalties under IEEPA—$300,000 or twice the value of the applicable transaction, whichever is greater. Other penalties, such as denying a party the ability to export, remain the same.

Section 1761 of the ECA enhances BIS’s enforcement authorities, which are now on par with other enforcement agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For example, a violation of ECRA, which includes both the export control and antiboycott provisions, is now a predicate offense that can be cited to justify a wiretap. ECA also gives BIS enforcement officials the authority to conduct investigations “outside the United States consistent with applicable law.” There are broader issues about the authority of the U.S. government to conduct investigations abroad that are beyond the scope of this alert, but ECA, unlike previous authorities, does not limit BIS to conducting investigations in only the United States. In addition, ECA gives BIS the authority to spend funds or engage in other financial transactions (such as leasing space) to conduct undercover investigations. Finally, ECA expands the bases upon which BIS enforcement can impose denial orders. Previously, BIS’s authority to impose denial orders was limited to situations where the person was convicted of a criminal violation of export control and other national security statutes. ECA expands the authority for BIS to issue denial orders when someone is convicted of criminal violations of conspiracy, smuggling or false-statements laws.

  1. Industry-Friendly Provisions

Consistent with long-standing BIS policies and practices, ECA requires that “licensing decisions are to be made in an expeditious manner [ideally, within 30 days of a request], with transparency to applicants on the status of license and other authorization processing and the reason for denying any license or request for authorization.” As under the Export Administration Act of 1979, no fees may be charged in connection with any license or other request made in connection with the EAR. In addition, BIS is required to continue helping U.S. persons, particularly including small- and medium-sized companies, comply with the EAR through training and other outreach.

  1. Coordination of Export Control and Sanctions Authorities

One of the key unrealized aspirations of the Obama administration’s export control officials was the creation of a single export control licensing agency that administered a single set of export control regulations in order to accomplish the national security and foreign policy objectives of the controls with significantly fewer regulatory burdens. Although the ECA does not suggest or require any organizational changes within the export control system, it does require the President to coordinate the export controls and sanctions administered by the departments of Commerce, State, Treasury and Energy. The ECA goes on to state that, in order to achieve such effective coordination, Congress believes that these agencies:

“should regularly work to reduce complexity in the system, including complexity caused merely by the existence of structural, definitional, and other non-policy based differences between and among different export control and sanctions systems” and

“should coordinate controls on items exported, reexported, or in-country transferred in connection with a foreign military sale [administered by the Department of State’s Office of Regional Stability and Arms Transfers (RSAT)]. . . or a commercial sale [of defense articles administered by the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)] to reduce as much unnecessary administrative burden as possible that is a result of differences between the exercise of those two authorities.”

Examples of how such coordination could be enhanced (but that are not described in ECA) include (i) continued efforts to harmonize definitions of terms in, and organizational structures of, the EAR, the ITAR and the sanctions regulations; (ii) the creation of a single online portal with a single common license application for submissions to BIS, DDTC, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), (iii) combined BIS, DDTC and OFAC training, outreach and enforcement efforts; (iv) regularly scheduled rotations of licensing officers among the agencies for cross training; and (v) delegations of authority making it so that the reexport of military items subject to the EAR have the same requirements and prohibitions, regardless of whether the item was originally exported under a foreign military sale or a direct commercial sale.

  1. Definitions in the EAR Are Unchanged

The definitions of key terms in ECRA, such as “export” and “technology,” are consistent with the definitions revised during the Obama administration’s Export Control Reform initiative. (The definition of “U.S. Person” as proposed would have inadvertently dramatically increased the extraterritorial scope of the regulations. That issue was fixed in the final version of ECRA.) Also, ECRA does not require BIS to change EAR definitions or core concepts, such as the de minimis carveout, or the meaning of “published” information or “fundamental research.” BIS continues to have discretion to amend most of the EAR’s definitions as necessary and to create new definitions.

During the early public discussion about ECRA and the “emerging” and “foundational” technology topic, some in industry expressed concerns that the statutory definition of “technology” would sweep more information within the scope of the EAR than the EAR did. Part of the discussion revolved around the words “required” and “necessary.” Another part revolved the words “development” and “know-how.” ECRA uses the same essential elements of the definition as does the EAR. That is, it defines the term as including information “necessary” for the “development,” “production” or “use” of an “item,” which is defined the same way as the EAR in that it means “commodities,” “software” and “technology.” The main difference is that ECRA uses the word “includes” rather than “means.” This gives BIS authority to expand the scope of covered “technology.” Given this discretion, that “necessary” information is vastly broader in scope than “required” technology, and that the concepts of “emerging” and “foundational” technologies are inherently broad, industry should follow closely the evolution of the proposed new controls. Subtle differences in terminology—such as between the use of “necessary” or “required” as control parameters—can have extraordinarily large impacts on the scope of information subject to licensing or other obligations.


BIS Amends EAR, Eases Restrictions on Exports to India

2018/08/30

Effective August 3, 2018 the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to formally recognize and implement India as a new member of the Wassenaar Arrangement as well as move India from Country Group A:6 to A:5. This rule follows a series of rules with the intention of furthering reforms agreed upon by the United States and India to promote global nonproliferation, expand high technology cooperation and trade, and ultimately facilitate India’s full membership in the four multilateral export control regimes (Nuclear Suppliers Group, MTCR, WA, and AG).

Specific EAR Amendments Recognizing and Implementing India’s Membership in Wassenaar and Adding India to Country Group A:5

  • PART 738 – BIS amends Supplement No. 1 to Part 738, Commerce Country Chart, by removing the license requirements for National Security Column 2 (NS2) reasons. Accordingly, this rule removes the “X” in NS Column 2 for India.
  • PART 740 – BIS amends Supplement No. 1 to Part 740 to add India to Country Groups A:1 and A:5.

CONFORMING AMENDMENTS

  • PART 738 – Consistent with India’s new multilateral export control regime status, this rule also removes the first sentence of footnote 7 to the Commerce Country Chart in Supplement No. 1 to Part 738, related to India. This amendment removes the requirement that exporters file in the Automated Export System when items controlled for Crime Control Columns 1 and 3 reasons, and Regional Stability Column 2 reasons were destined to India. As a conforming change, this rule removes the word “Also” from the second sentence of footnote 7 and capitalizes the “n” in “note” since it begins the sentence.

– Also, as a conforming change in Part 738, BIS amends paragraph (b)(3) of §738.4, related to a sample analysis using the Commerce Control List and Country Chart to determine when a license is required, to remove the name “India” and replace it with the name “Chad.” The sample analysis used India as an example of a country with NS Column 2 controls. That reason for control no longer applies to India but currently applies to Chad.

  • PART 740 – In adding India to Country Group A:5, BIS removes India from Country Group A:6 to avoid creating conflicting eligibility criteria for STA provisions.
  • PART 743 – As a member of Wassenaar, India now is subject to reporting requirements for items controlled under Wassenaar, as set forth in Part 743, Special Reporting and Notification. Specifically, India is added, in alphabetical order, to Supplement No. 1 to Part 743, Wassenaar Arrangement Participating States.
  • PART 758 – Consistent with India’s achievements and status as a Major Defense Partner, BIS removes the requirement that exporters file certain Electronic Export Information in AES as set forth in §758.1(b)(9). Specifically, this removes the requirement that exporters file in AES when items controlled for CC Columns 1 and 3 reasons and RS Column 2 reasons are destined to India. This reporting requirement had been instituted when the license requirement for such items was removed (see U.S.-India Bilateral Understanding: Additional Revisions to the U.S. Export and Reexport Controls Under the Export Administration Regulations; January 23, 2015; 80 FR 3463). BIS has determined that this reporting requirement is no longer necessary.
  • PART 772 – In this rule, BIS also adds India, in alphabetical order, to the list of countries under the term Australia Group in §772.1, Definitions of terms as used in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). This updates the definition consistent with formal recognition of India’s membership in the AG in a BIS final rule, entitled “Implementation of the February 2017 Australia Group (AG) Intersessional Decisions and June 2017 Plenary Understandings; Addition of India to the AG” (83 FR 13849, April 2, 2018)

Richard E. Ashooh, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration.

Source (Federal Register): https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-08-03/pdf/2018-16691.pdf


Company Fined $155,000 for Screening Related Violations

2018/08/30

By: Danielle Hatch

Mohawk Global Logistics Corp. has been fined $155,000 for 3 violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) related to exporting to companies on the Entity List.

Around August 2012 Mowhawk exported an LNP-20 Liquid Nitrogen Plant (EAR99 and valued at $33,587) to the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF). The company had a screening process in place and when they screened VNIIEF they got a hit and the shipment was initially flagged. During the BIS investigation Mowhawk acknowledged that the export supervisor accidently overrode (or ignored) the red flag and the shipment was processed. Mowhawk filed EEI and listed the shipment as No License Required (NLR) which would have been accurate had the end user not been on the Entity List. Since VNIIEF is a denied party a license is always required to export any items subject to the EAR. This was the 1st of 3 total charges.

In February 2014 and August 2015, Mokhawk once again exported to an organization on the Entity List, but this time they were in China. The company exported Real-Time Back Reflection Laue Camera Detectors and Accessories (EAR99 and valued at $177,156) to the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC). Once again, Mowhawk used screening software, but this time it failed to flag the transaction because Mowhawk didn’t screen UESTC’s full, unabbreviated name. This could be a common mistake, however, all of the documents that UESTC provided to Mowhawk clearly identified UESTC’s full name as it was listed on the Entity List along with an almost exact matching address. The shipment was processed in February 2014 and they filed EEI as NLR. As with the first charge, had the export not gone to someone on the Entity List a license likely would not have been required.

In August 2015 Mowhawk exported the same exact items to UESTC after they had been returned for warranty repair. This time, Mowhawk didn’t screen the transaction at all using their screening software and there was no EEI filed in connection with this particular export to UESTC. These transactions were charges 2 and 3.

Settlement Agreement:

  • Pay $135,000 in 3 separate payments
  • Payment of the remaining $20,000 is suspended as long as the company pays the $135,000 on time.
  • If payments are not received on time, BIS may issue an order denying all of Mowhawk’s export privileges
  • Mowhawk can’t take any action or make any public statement denying the allegations in the BIS Charging Letter or Order

Order and Charging Letter: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/export-violations-2018/1193-e2561/file


BIS Issues an Order Terminating the Denial Order Against ZTE

2018/07/30

(Source: Commerce/BIS, 13 Jul 2018.)

On March 23, 2017, Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation of Shenzhen, China, and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd. of Hi-New Shenzhen, China (collectively, “ZTE”) entered into a settlement agreement with the Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce (BIS) to resolve 380 violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) admitted by ZTE.

ZTE has followed the settlement terms and conditions by making a full and timely payment of $1,000,000,000 as ordered and has complied with the escrow requirements relating to the $400,000,000 suspended portion of the civil penalty. Therefore, BIS has terminated the 15 April 2018 Order, and BIS will remove ZTE from the Denied Persons List.

This order does not modify any provision of the Superseding Order or the Superseding Settlement Agreement.

[Note: The 15 April 2018 Order is available here.]

Details: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/export-violations-2018/1184-e2559/file


ZTE Chairman Promises No MORE Violations & US Imposes Most Severe Penalty to Date

2018/06/29

By: Danielle Hatch

ZTE Chairman Yin Yimin released a letter in the first part of June to customers and employees promising that there would be no further compliance violations. He apologized to customers for the disruption that the violations of US export controls caused and apologized to ZTE’s 80,000 employees whose jobs were in jeopardy after ZTE was put on the US denial list and no longer had access to US technology which suspended most of the company’s operations. **An employee who asked not to be identified further confirmed Yin sent a letter but would not confirm its contents.

The US did agree to restore ZTE’s access to US components in hopes of reducing the likelihood of a prolonged escalation of tensions over tariffs.

Yimin’s letter did say that the issue will not be fully resolved until the US government approves the agreement and unspecified conditions are met. Below you will find the conditions specified by BIS.

BIS will remove ZTE from the DPL Denied Persons List after ZTE makes the required payment and deposit into escrow. Under the new agreement, ZTE must pay $1 billion and place an additional $400 million in suspended penalty money in escrow before BIS will remove ZTE from the Denied Persons List. These penalties are in addition to the $892 million in penalties ZTE has already paid to the U.S government under the March 2017 settlement agreement.Within 30 days of the date of the order, BIS will select and ZTE shall retain at its expense an independent Special Compliance Coordinator (“SCC”) to coordinate, monitor, assess, and report on compliance by ZTE and its subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide. This team of Special Compliance Coordinators will be answerable to BIS for a period of 10 years. Their function will be to monitor on a real-time basis ZTE’s compliance with U.S. export control laws. This is the first time BIS has achieved such stringent compliance measures in any case. These collectively are the most severe penalty BIS has ever imposed on a company.

ZTE must also:

  • Replace the entire board of directors and senior leadership for both entities
  • Complete and submit nine audit reports of its compliance with U.S. export control laws;
    Ensure that all records required to be kept or retained under the Regulations are stored in or fully accessible from the United States;
  • Publish on its website all Export Control Classification Numbers as necessary to determine applicable requirements;
  • Hold two public symposia in China regarding compliance with applicable U.S. export control regulations.
  • Suspended Debarment: 10 years from the date of this order, unless ZTE completes the full and timely payment as described above.

BIS Press Release: https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2018/06/secretary-ross-announces-14-billion-zte-settlement-zte-board-management

Order: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/export-violations-2018/1181-e2556/file

Details: https://www.mytwintiers.com/news/report-zte-chairman-promises-no-more-violations-apologizes/1225834182


Export Control Amendments Proposed for Commercial Firearms, Ammunition and Related Products

2018/06/29

By: Thomas B. McVey, Esq., tmcvey@williamsmullen.com; Camden R. Webb, Esq., crwebb@williamsmullen.com; and Charles E. “Chuck” James, Jr., Esq., cjames@williamsmullen.com. All of Williams Mullen.

On May 24, 2018 the State and Commerce Departments issued proposed regulations regarding the transfer of export jurisdiction for commercial firearms and ammunition from the International Traffic In Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”).[1]  Specifically, the proposals would amend Categories I, II and III of the U.S. Munitions List (“USML”) to remove certain commercial firearms products, ammunition, and certain parts, components, accessories and attachments and transfer these items to the Commerce Control List (“CCL”) under the EAR.  This is the first step in the long-awaited process under export control reform to transfer firearms products that no longer warrant control as military products from ITAR to the less restrictive EAR.  This is welcome news to our clients and many in the firearms and firearms accessory market.  The following is a summary of a number of the proposed changes and the impact on companies dealing in these products.

At the outset, it should be recognized that these are proposed amendments – they are not the final versions of the regulations.  State and Commerce have provided these in proposed form and are requesting comments from interested parties during a 45-day comment period.  Upon the receipt of comments, the agencies may make further modifications to the proposals and must still issue final regulations.  Consequently, companies should be alert to any additional changes and not act on the proposed regulations until they become final.  Nevertheless, companies can become engaged in the process now by submitting comments with recommendations for further revisions and begin planning for the transition to the new regulatory program.  Many industry groups and advocacy organizations are encouraging their members to offer comments in support of the proposed regulations.

Amendments Under ITAR.  Under the proposed State Department rule, USML Category I, covering firearms and related articles, will be amended to remove non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms up to caliber .50 (12.7 mm) inclusive and certain parts, components, accessories and attachments “specially designed” for such articles.  The goal of such amendments is to remove common items like modern sporting rifles while continuing to control under ITAR “only defense articles that are inherently military or that are not otherwise widely available for commercial sale.”[2]  Such products would be transferred to be controlled under the EAR (discussed further below).  Certain products, however, would continue to remain on USML Category I and subject to ITAR that fit within the above parameters, including the following:

  • Firearms that fire caseless ammunition;
  • Fully automatic firearms to caliber .50 inclusive;
  • Firearms specially designed to integrate fire control, automatic tracking and automatic firing systems;
  • Fully automatic shotguns;
  • Silencers, mufflers, sound suppressors, and specially designed parts and components;
  • Barrels, receivers (frames), bolts, bolt carriers, slides, and sears, specially designed for the firearms in Category I;
  • High capacity (greater than 50 rounds) magazines, and parts and components to convert a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic firearm; and
  • Accessories and attachments specially designed to automatically stabilize aim (other than gun rests) or for automatic targeting.

Category II, covering guns and armaments, would be amended to specifically list the items subject to controls and to establish a “bright line” between the USML and the CCL for the control of these items.  Items removed and transferred to the CCL include engines for self-propelled guns and howitzers,[3] tooling and equipment for the production of articles controlled in USML Category II[4] and certain test and evaluation equipment.[5]  Items specifically remaining on the USML and subject to ITAR would include certain apparatus and devices for launching or delivering ordnance,[6] certain autoloading systems currently controlled under USML Category II paragraph (i), developmental guns and armaments funded by the Department of Defense[7] and specially designed parts and components of such developmental products.

Category III, covering ammunition and ordinance, would be amended to be consistent with Category I, including the removal of ammunition for small arms that were transferred out of Category I.  Category III would also be amended to remove the broad “catch-alls” previously covered and to specifically enumerate the remaining items to be controlled.

New Controls Under the EAR.  Items removed from the USML as described above would be transferred to be controlled under the EAR which is administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) within the Commerce Department.  As part of this transfer, BIS has established 17 new export control classification numbers (“ECCN’s”) on the CCL to control items that were removed from the USML.

Items covered by these ECCN’s will continue to be subject to significant export restrictions.  For example, these items will require export licenses for exports, reexports and in-country transfers.  In addition, certain “technology” related to the transferred firearms, ammunition and related products will be controlled on the CCL – in many cases licenses will be required for the transfer of controlled technology out of the U.S. and the transfer or disclosure of controlled technology to foreign persons in the U.S.  Certain license exceptions would also be available for the transferred items (although the license exceptions under the EAR frequently differ from the license exemptions under ITAR).  As with ITAR licenses issued by DDTC, items exported under a license would only be authorized for the end user and end use specified on the license – any reexports or in-country transfers of such items beyond such authority will require specific additional license authorization from BIS.

Continued ITAR Controls On Brokering of Commercial Firearms.  Notwithstanding the changes described above, commercial firearms and ammunition would continue to be covered under the ITAR brokering requirements.  Specifically, the State Department proposed rule states that products listed on the U.S. Munitions Import List (used by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for administering controls on the permanent import of firearms products) will continue to be subject to the ITAR brokering requirements set forth in 22 CFR Part 129.  Category I(a) of the USMIL includes nonautomatic and semiautomatic firearms, to caliber .50 inclusive, and USMIL Category III(a) includes ammunition for such products.  Thus, despite the broad changes to USML Categories I and III under the proposed amendments, parties will still be subject to ITAR regulation for brokering and “facilitation” in the sale of commercial firearms products, including requirements for registration, obtaining advanced authorizations for certain transactions, reporting, recordkeeping and restrictions on brokering transactions involving the “proscribed” countries identified in 22 CFR §126.1.

Impact On Firearms Companies.  The proposed changes will most likely affect many companies in the firearms industry in a number of ways including:

  • Export Classifications.  Companies will review the export jurisdiction and classification of their products to determine if they have been transferred to BIS jurisdiction and, if so, to determine the correct ECCN’s for their products.  This will apply to firearms, ammunition, parts, components, accessories and attachments.
  • Licenses For Products, Technology and Software.  As referenced above, companies will still be required to obtain export licenses for exports, reexports and in-country transfers for controlled products, technologies and software.  However, in many cases these will be from a different licensing agency under different licensing procedures.  Consequently, many companies will be amending their export compliance procedures to conform to these new requirements.
  • Registration.  There is no requirement for companies to register under the EAR, as exists under ITAR.  Of course, if companies still engage in activities regulated under ITAR (such as brokering commercial firearms products or the sale of items remaining in USML Categories I, II and III), they will be required to maintain their DDTC registration.
  • Defense Services.  There are reduced controls on performing services under the EAR as compared with those under ITAR.[8]
  • Temporary Imports.  The EAR does not contain controls on the temporary import of items subject to the EAR as required under ITAR.
  • Reports for Payments of Fees, Commissions and Political Contributions.  The EAR does not require exporters to file reports on the payment of political contributions, fees and commissions as under ITAR Part 130.
  • Items Still Regulated Under ITAR.  For items that remain listed on the USML after the amendments, such items will still be subject to ITAR and the requirements thereunder.

Status of Amendments.  As stated above, the amendments described in this alert are proposed changes only and not final amendments.  Parties have until July 9, 2018 to submit comments to State and Commerce on the proposed regulations.  Companies are encouraged to review the proposals carefully to assess how they will apply to their businesses as there is still opportunity to propose further amendments.  Officials at DDTC and BIS typically review the comments carefully and often adopt changes recommended by commenters.

While the transfer of commercial firearms products from ITAR to EAR controls is not yet concluded, the process has begun.  This is the time for companies to become engaged – in reviewing, commenting on and planning ahead for these changes.

[1] The proposed State Department rule is available here, and the proposed Commerce Department rule is available here.

[2] See State proposed rule p. 24,198.

[3] To be transferred to the CCL under ECCN 0A606.

[4] To be transferred to the CCL under ECCN 0B602

[5] To be transferred to the CCL under ECCN 0B602.

[6] To be included in a new USML paragraph (a)(4).

[7] To be included in new USML paragraph (a)(5).

[8] The performance of services is addressed in the EAR in 15 CFR §744.6(a)(1)(ii) and §744.6(a)(2).  In addition, the BIS proposed rule states as follows regarding defense services: “The EAR does not include a concept of “defense services,” and the “technology” related controls are more narrowly focused and apply in limited contexts as compared to the ITAR.”  See BIS proposed rule at p. 24,167.


U.S. Departments of State and Commerce Propose Rules to Transition Firearms and Ammunition from the USML to the CCL

2018/06/29

(Source: Reeves & Dola LLP Alert, 1 June 2018. Available via jreeves@reevesdola.com)

By: Johanna Reeves, Esq., jreeves@reevesdola.com, 202-715-994; and Katherine Heubert, Esq., 202-715-9940, kheubert@reevesdola.com. Both of Reeves & Dola LLP

On May 24, 2018, the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce officially published proposed rules to transition most firearms and ammunition away from the export controls of the Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) over to the controls of the Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations (EAR). In this alert, the second of four installments, we will examine the proposed revisions to the ITAR control list, the U.S. Munitions List (USML) Category I, and the Department of Commerce’s proposed companion rule amending the Commerce Control List (CCL).

Both the State and Commerce Departments are seeking written comments on the proposed rules, which will be accepted until July 9, 2018.  We strongly encourage industry to take time to carefully review the revised categories and provide actionable commentary to the proposed rules. This is a critical opportunity for industry to provide comments that would assist the government in reducing jurisdictional ambiguities and clarifying the articles that will remain subject to the ITAR. The specific instructions for submitting comments are included in each proposed rule.

Proposed Transitions from USML Cat. I to CCL

Title for this category will change from “Firearms, Close Assault Weapons and Combat Shotguns” to “Firearms and Related Articles.”

Articles Removed from USML Cat. I – State’s rule proposes to transition away from the USML non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms up to and including .50 caliber currently controlled under paragraph (a), as well as all parts, components, accessories and attachments specially designed for those firearms. These items will be subject to the EAR under newly created “500 series” Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs).

Commerce originally created the “500 series” as part of “Export Control Reform” under the Obama Administration to control items that had been from the USML or certain items on the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual Use Goods and Technologies Munitions List (the “Wassenaar List” or WAML). Compared to the “600 series” ECCNs, which control items of a military nature removed from the USML, the “500 series” contain items not appropriate for the 600 series control because they have predominant civil, recreational, law enforcement, or other non-military applications.

To capture the firearms and ammunition in USML Cats. I-III that will transition to the CCL, Commerce proposes in its companion rule to create a total of 17 new ECCNs. For the firearms, parts, components, accessories and attachments that will transition from USML Cat. I, the proposed new ECCNs are:

– 0A501 (Firearms and related commodities)

– 0A502 (Shotguns and certain related commodities)

– 0A504 (Optical sighting devices and certain related commodities)

– 0E501 (Technology for firearms and certain related items)

– 0E502 (Technology for shotguns)

– 0E504 (Technology for certain optical sighting devices)

Articles Still Controlled Under USML Cat. I – items that would remain under Category I are positively listed as follows, including the corresponding paragraph (Significant Military Equipment (SME) is designated with an asterisk (*)):

*(a) Firearms using caseless ammunition.

*(b) Fully automatic firearms to .50 caliber (12.7 mm) inclusive.

*(c) Firearms specially designed [emphasis added] to integrate fire control, automatic tracking, or automatic firing (e.g., Precision Guided Firearms (PGFs)), and specially designed parts and components therefor.

Note to paragraph (c): Integration does not include only attaching to the firearm or rail.

*(d) Fully automatic shotguns regardless of gauge.

*(e) Silencers, mufflers, and sound suppressors, and specially designed [emphasis added] parts and components therefor (flash suppressors move to CCL).

(f) [Reserved]

(g) Barrels, receivers (frames), bolts, bolt carriers, slides, or sears specially designed [emphasis added] for the articles in paragraphs (a), (b), and (d) of this category.

(h) Parts, components, accessories, and attachments, as follows:

(1) Drum and other magazines for firearms to .50 caliber (12.7 mm) inclusive with a capacity greater than 50 rounds, regardless of jurisdiction of the firearm, and specially designed [emphasis added] parts and components therefor;

(2) Parts and components specially designed for conversion of a semiautomatic firearm to a fully automatic firearm[emphasis added].

(3) Accessories or attachments specially designed to automatically stabilize aim (other than gun rests) or for automatic targeting, and specially designed parts and components therefor [emphasis added].

Technical Data and Defense Services – paragraph (i) specifies “technical data,” as defined in ITAR §120.10, and “defense services,” as defined in ITAR §120.9, directly related to the defense articles described in paragraphs (a), (b), (d), (e), (g), and (h) of Cat. I, and classified technical data directly related to items controlled in ECCNs 0A501, 0B501, 0D501, and 0E501 and defense services using the classified technical data. Exemptions will continue to be covered in ITAR §125.4.

Revised USML Cat. I will also include several notes to explain what items are excluded by the category (non-automatic and semi-automatic firearms up to and including .50 caliber; non-automatic shotguns; BB, pellet, and muzzle loading (e.g., black powder) firearms; and parts, components, accessories, and attachments of firearms and shotguns in paragraphs (a), (b), (d), and (g) of Cat. I that are common to non-automatic firearms and shotguns) and what is meant by firearm, fully automatic firearm or shotgun, or caseless ammunition.

The proposed rule also adds a new paragraph (x) to Cats. I, II and III to allow for ITAR licensing of commodities, software and technology subject to the EAR, which paragraph has already been added to all of the other USML categories that have gone through the rewrite process.  It is important to note that paragraph (x) is only available if those items EAR items are to be used in or with defense articles controlled in USML Cat. I, and the items are described in the purchase documentation submitted with the ITAR license application. Further, it is important to understand that such EAR items, even if included on an ITAR export license under USML Cat. I(x), would remain subject to the controls of the EAR, despite the appearance of the ITAR license.  Use of paragraph(x) is a licensing convenience only; it does not change the jurisdictional status of an item. Consequently, it will be incumbent on the U.S. exporter to properly educate its customers on the proper licensing authority, especially for reexport and retransfer requests.

CCL Controls

A key fact in the proposed rules is that the transition from USML to CCL will NOT result in a decontrol of firearms or ammunition. Firearms transitioning from the USML to CCL will be subject to controls under National Security (NS), Regional Stability (RS), Crime Control and Detection (CC), Firearms Convention (FC), United Nations Sanctions (UN) and Anti-Terrorism (AT). Indeed, the proposed rules make it abundantly clear that BIS will require licenses to export or reexport to ANY country firearms or other weapons that transitions from the USML to the CCL.

License exceptions, such as limited value shipments (LVS), government (GOV), baggage (BAG) and strategic trade authorization (STA) will be very limited for small arms formerly on the USML, so industry should carefully review the ECCNs in the proposed rule to see what license exceptions are available for each ECCN and the limitations.

Each new ECCN will be made up of technically specific subparagraphs in an enumerated “List of Items Controlled.” For example, the list of items controlled under ECCN 0A501 is comprised of paragraphs .a – .w, which identify the items classified under the particular paragraph. The ECCN also includes .x and .y paragraphs for parts and components. The .x paragraph operates like a catch-all, as it lists specially designed parts and components that are not controlled elsewhere. Conversely, the .y paragraph lists only those parts, components, accessories, and attachments that are controlled only for UN and AT reasons. Such items may be exported to nearly all destinations without a license. The parts and components captured by the .x paragraph, on the other hand, are subject to NS, RS, FC, UN, and AT and will likely require a license for most destinations.

It will be incumbent on the exporter (or temporary importer) to review every firearm and firearm part, component, accessory, and attachment in which it deals so as to determine the new classification once the rules become final. The specific license requirements, and the applicability of license exceptions, as well as any end-use or end-user restrictions, will depend on the specific subparagraph classification of the governing ECCN.

Specially Designed

A critical concept in the proposed revisions to the control lists is the term “Specially Designed.” This term has been reviewed, criticized, discussed, and analyzed in depth since it was first incorporated into the ITAR and the EAR in the initial implementation rules for Export Control Reform, which DDTC and BIS published in the Federal Register on April 16, 2013.

This term is NOT up for public comment at the present time, but to understand the proposed revisions to the USML and CCL control lists for firearms and ammunition, it is imperative to comprehend the term. Both the ITAR and EAR use the term, “Specially Designed” to remove the catch-all controls currently present in the USML Cats. I-III and to designate what parts, components, accessories and attachments are subject to either the ITAR or the EAR. We have highlighted the proposed use of “specially designed” in USML Cat. I in the list above.

It is important to note that the “specially designed” analysis is not applicable to the entire USML Category, as it can be used only if it is specified within a particular paragraph. As the revisions to Cat. I are intended to make the list a positive list and include only those articles that warrant control under the ITAR for the reasons stated previously, there should be a bright line between those articles subject to the ITAR and those subject to the EAR. Industry therefore must carefully review the full definition of “Specially Designed” and the application to the proposed revisions of Cat. I and provide comments that would assist the government in reducing jurisdictional ambiguities and clarifying the articles subject to the ITAR.

Industry should also review the ITAR order of review outlined in 22 C.F.R. § 121.1(b)), and the Order of Review Decision Tool available on DDTC’s website. BIS also provides an Order of Review Decision Tool on its website.

Industry should be forewarned not to underestimate the time intensive process of classifying the parts, components, attachments and accessories for firearms under the proposed rules. A critical component is the specially designed analysis, which itself is complex and difficult to understand immediately. It would be foolish to skip over classification, as license requirements, applicability of license exceptions, and restrictions are dependent on the classification, down to the specific ECCN paragraph. Further, export license applications will require identification of the specific subparagraph of control as well.  The days of simply identifying “paragraph (h)” for any and all parts and components are quickly coming to an end.

Brokering

In addition to the proposed revisions to the USML Cats. I-III, DDTC’s proposed rule identifies several “conforming changes” in other parts of the ITAR to remove references to firearms that will be controlled on the CCL. One such revision is to section 129.1 to clarify that regulations on brokering activities apply to defense articles and defense services designated on the USML as well as items described on the U.S. Munitions Import List (USMIL) for permanent import controls. The USMIL is promulgated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) pursuant to the permanent import provisions of the Arms Export Control Act. ATF’s regulations are in 27 C.F.R. Pt. 447, and the USMIL is in 27 C.F.R. § 447.21.

According to DDTC, “the items that will move to the CCL for export control purposes, yet are on the USMIL for permanent import purposes, remain subject to the brokering requirements of [ITAR] part 129 with respect to all brokering activities, including facilitation in their manufacture, export, permanent import, transfer, reexport, or retransfer.” 83 Fed. Reg. at 24199 (May 24, 2018). Approaching this from the catch and release analysis that has permeated export control reform, this is the “catch.” The proposed revision in section 129.2, however, adds the following release in a new paragraph (vii) for activities that are NOT considered brokering activities:

“Activities by persons to facilitate the export, reexport, or transfer of an item subject to the EAR that has been approved pursuant to a license or license exception under the EAR or a license or other approval under this subchapter.”

As written, this language is very broad because the clause “that has been approved” does not limit past approvals to the person engaging in the subject activities. Further, the past approvals may be from either an EAR or an ITAR authorization.

Electronic Export Information Filings to Automated Export System

A critical change in the proposed rules lies within the Department of Commerce proposed rule relating to the Electronic Export Information (EEI) filings to Automated Export System (AES). According to the proposed rule, AES filings would be required for exports of all firearms transitioned to the CCL from the USML, regardless of value or destination. This requirement would also extend to temporary exports under license exceptions TMP or BAG.

In addition, the rule proposes to expand the required data elements of AES filings to include serial numbers, make, model, and caliber for such firearms. Industry should carefully evaluate the impact this requirement will have on operations and include in comments to the proposed rules.

Temporary Imports

The proposed Commerce rules set out a new process in 15 C.F.R. 758.10 for temporary imports of items subject to both the EAR and the USMIL. The process would impose entry clearance requirements for firearms temporarily imported into the United States for a period not to exceed 1 year, and then would require the use of the TMP license exception for the return export.

For the inbound transaction, U.S. Customs and Border Protection would be charged with collecting identifying information necessary to track the items temporarily imported, such as the list of firearms with serial numbers, model, make, quantity, and value, as well as other import and supporting documents. For the export, a license would not be required, but CBP would match the export to the information received upon entry. Firearms may not be imported from or ultimately destined to certain proscribed or restricted countries, and the proposed rule includes language that would instruct importers to contact CBP at the port of import or export for the proper procedures to provide any data or documentation required by BIS. Commerce is seeking comment from industry on this proposed new process.

This brings to a close this second installment of our four-part series on the proposed rules transitioning firearms and ammunition from the USML to the CCL. In our next two alerts we will examine the proposed revisions to USML Cats. II and III and the new EAR controls.


A Primer on the Export Administration Regulations

2018/06/29

(Source: Reeves & Dola LLP Alert, 1 June 2018. Available via jreeves@reevesdola.com)

By: Johanna Reeves, Esq., jreeves@reevesdola.com, 202-715-994; and Katherine Heubert, Esq., 202-715-9940, kheubert@reevesdola.com. Both of Reeves & Dola LLP

 

On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Department of State posted on its website proposed rules to transition most firearms and ammunition off the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) control list, known as the U.S. Munitions List (USML), over to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s export control list, known as the Commerce Control List (CCL). The reason for the change is to revise the scope of the ITAR to control only those articles that provide the United States with a critical military or intelligence advantage or, in the case of weapons, are inherently for military end use. Such items will remain on the USML, while items no longer warranting control under the ITAR will be transitioned to the CCL and be subject to the licensing provisions of the Export Administration Act (EAR), administered and enforced by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

In anticipation of the official publication of the proposed rules, scheduled for May 24, 2018, we thought it advisable to offer an overview of the EAR. Once the rules publish on May 24, we will circulate an in-depth 3-part review of the proposed amendments to the ITAR and to the EAR and the potential impacts on industry.

The following overview of the EAR is intentionally broad, and is intended to serve only as a backdrop to the proposed rules to transition most firearms and ammunition, along with certain parts, components, attachments and accessories, from ITAR controls to EAR controls.

Scope of Controls – Subject to the EAR

Items – the Commerce Control List

While the Department of State controls over exports, reexports, and temporary imports are confined to “defense articles” and “defense services” listed on the USML, the Department of Commerce controls over exports and reexports are much broader. The EAR, found in 15 C.F.R. Pts. 730-780, control the export and reexport of “items” (commodities, software, and technology, each term separately defined in the EAR) and certain activities that are NOT exclusively controlled for export or reexport by another agency of the U.S. government which regulates exports or reexports for national security or foreign policy purposes, such as the U.S. Department of State.

Items subject to the EAR consist of the items listed on the CCL in Part 774 of the EAR, and all other items that meet the definition of “subject to the EAR” in section 734.3. The CCL is made up of ten Categories that are further broken into Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs). An ECCN is an alpha-numeric code that describes an item or types of items and shows the controls on that item and available license exceptions. The ECCN is not a Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) number, and is not a Schedule B number. To determine whether an item requires an export license from BIS, the exporter must know how the item is classified on the CCL.

As noted above, the CCL is divided into 10 categories, with each category subdivided into five groups, designated by the letters A through E as follows: (A) Equipment, assemblies and components; (B) Test, inspection and production equipment; (C) Materials; (D) Software; and (E) Technology. Within each group is where you will find the ECCNs that enumerate the items that are controlled on the CCL. The firearms and ammunition currently classified on the USML in Categories I, II and III that have been selected to transition to the EAR will be enumerated in new ECCNs created under Category 0 (nuclear materials, facilities and equipment, and miscellaneous items) and product groups A, B, D and E. We will review the proposed rules and the new ECCNs in detail in our forthcoming alerts.

Items subject to the EAR which are not listed on the CCL are generally designated as “EAR99.” Often, items classified as EAR99 do not require an export license, but EAR99 is a classification, not a license exemption! Further, EAR99 does not automatically mean that no license is required. If the export violates any of the general prohibitions listed in EAR section 736.2, such as prohibited end-user, end-use, or sanctioned or embargoed country, a license is required.

The above discussion relates only to the question of what is subject to the EAR. Being subject to the EAR does not automatically mean a license is required for an export or reexport. This is a separate analysis that we will examine below.

Parts and Components – De Minimis

Foreign-made commodities that incorporate controlled U.S.-origin commodities may also be subject to the EAR if they have de minimis level of U.S. content. What constitutes the de minimis level depends on the commodity and the destination country for the reexport, and may range from no de minimis levels (for items subject to higher controls), to 10% or 25% de minimis.  The rules for calculating de minimis levels are found in section 734.4 of the EAR.

Technology

The EAR defines “technology” as “information necessary for the “development,” “production,” “use,” operation, installation, maintenance, repair, overhaul, or refurbishing (or other terms specified in ECCNs on the CCL that control “technology”) of an item. Each of the quoted terms are defined in Part 772 of the EAR.

EAR controls over “technology” are more narrowly focused than the ITAR controls over technical data, and apply in limited contexts. To determine whether the technology for an ECCN is also enumerated on the CCL, the corresponding “E” ECCN for the platform should be reviewed. For example, in the proposed rules for firearms currently in USML CAt. I, there will be a new ECCN 0E501 that controls technology for firearms and certain related items. However, the technology controlled would be that which is required for the “development” and “production” of firearms other than shotguns. This new ECCN also would apply the anti-terrorism and United Nations reasons for control (see below) to “technology” “required” for the operation, installation, maintenance, repair, or overhaul of such firearms. As the proposed Commerce rule explains, “controlling this “technology” under the EAR rather than the ITAR is appropriate because the “technology” for the “development,” “production,” operation, installation, maintenance, repair, and overhaul of the firearms to be described in 0A501 is widely available throughout the world and its possession does not confer a significant military or intelligence advantage on the United States.”

It is important to point out that the EAR’s carve-out from controls for published works or information in the public domain is much broader in scope compared to the ITAR carve-out for public domain. In section 734.7, “published” technology or software is carved out from EAR controls “when it has been made available to the public without restrictions upon its further dissemination….” For example, subscriptions available without restriction, libraries or other public collections open to the public and from which the public can obtain tangible or intangible documents, unlimited distributions at a conference, seminar, trade, show, or exhibition generally accessible to the public, public/unlimited distribution in any form, including posting on the Internet on sites available to the public. Many may rejoice over this, as the ITAR still does not recognize the Internet as being in the “public domain.”

As further illustration of technology not controlled under the EAR, the BIS proposed rule cites the example of a gun manufacturer posting a firearm’s operation and maintenance manual on the Internet, making it publicly available to anyone interested in accessing it and without restrictions on further dissemination. According to the proposed rule explanation, such operation and maintenance information included in that published manual would no longer be “subject to the EAR.” Nonproprietary system descriptions, including for firearms and related items, are another example of information that would not be subject to the EAR.

Reasons for Control

The reasons for control for exports under the EAR include the following:

– CB (Chemical & Biological Weapons)

– NP (Nuclear Proliferation)

– NS (National Security)

– MT (Missile Technology)

– RS (Regional Stability)

– CC (Crime Control)

– AT (Anti-Terrorism)

– UN (United Nations)

– EI (Encryption Item)

– CW (Chemical Weapons Convention)

The specific reasons for control for a particular item is identified within each specific ECCN. Unlike the blanket ITAR requirement for a license to anywhere in the world, BIS license requirements are unique to each individual ECCN. Whether a license is required for a particular export will depend on the destination country.

Licensing Under the EAR

Each ECCN is made up of four sections: a heading(description of the items controlled), the license requirements(including all possible reasons for control, such as AT, UN, NS, CC, and RS) the available license exceptions, and list of items controlled.

To determine the export and reexport license requirements for most items on the CCL, you must identify the reasons for control in the relevant ECCN and consult the Commerce Country Chart in Supp. No. 1 to Part 738 to see whether the applicable reasons for control are checked for the specific country. If so, then a license is required unless a license exception applies. Whether a license exception is available will depend on the ECCN and the Country Groups in Supplement No. 1 to Pt. 740.

Unlike the ITAR, the EAR does not require registration of exporters (so no registration fee), and there are no fees to apply for licenses through the SNAP-R. In addition, unlike the ITAR, the EAR does not include a concept of “defense services,” so there is no registration or licensing for the provision of defense services like there is under the ITAR.

The process for establishing a SNAP-R account is relatively easy, and no digital signature certificate is required. Further, unlike the ITAR, which contains several license forms depending on the transaction, the EAR prescribes one single form for each type of export (permanent, retransfer, reexport).

Covering Items Subject to the EAR on DDTC Licenses

With the rewrite of Categories I, II, and III, DDTC will add a “Paragraph (x)” to each of the revised categories. This paragraph has been added to all other USML Categories as they have gone through the rewrite process, and allows for the export of items subject to the EAR under ITAR licenses so long as the conditions of paragraph (x) are met (see ITAR §§ 120.5(b) and 126.6(c)). These conditions include:

(1) An ITAR license may only include items subject to the EAR that are for use in or with the listed defense articles;

(2) The purchase documentation must specify both the defense articles with the items subject to the EAR (no separate purchase orders breaking out the defense articles from the EAR items);

(3) The exporter must ship the EAR items together with the ITAR articles; and

(4) Items subject to the EAR that are included on an ITAR license do not lose their jurisdictional status as EAR-controlled items and remain subject to the EAR for any subsequent transactions.

In light of the last requirement, it is incumbent on the U.S. exporter to properly educate its customers and end-users when using an ITAR license for both defense articles and EAR items to be used in or with the defense articles. In the event the end-user need reexport approval, the approval must come from BIS for items subject to the EAR, not DDTC.

Below is a reference chart comparing some aspects of the EAR to the ITAR.

ITAR EAR
Statutory Authority Arms Export Control Act Export Administration Act of 1979 50 USC 4601-4623 [lapsed]
Federal Agency U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security
Citation 22 C.F.R. Pts. 120-130 15 C.F.R. Pts. 730 – 774
What is Covered Export, reexport, and temporary import of “defense articles” and “defense services” Items subject to the EAR
Control List U.S. Munitions List
22 C.F.R. 121.1
Commerce Control List
15 C.F.R. Pt. 774
Registration Required? Yes – manufacturers, exporters, temporary importers, and brokers of defense articles and defense services. Annual fees apply. Manufacturers of defense articles must register regardless of export activity. No
License Portal D-Trade SNAP-R
Fee for Licenses Yes – rolled into registration fee No
Types of Licenses/ Authorization Several types/forms – permanent export, temporary export, temporary import, agreements, brokering One form for export, Reexport, In-Country Transfer
Brokering? Yes – 22 C.F.R. Pt. 129 No – but see proposed rules for Cats. I-III
Technology Controls Yes – “technical data” licensing and “defense services” licensing Yes, but not as broad as ITAR; EAR controls only transmission
of technology, so no EAR concept of defense service

This overview of the EAR is the first installment of a four-part series on the proposed rules to transition firearms and ammunition from the USML to the CCL. Our next alert will examine the transition of certain firearms and their parts, components, accessories and attachments from USML Cat. I items to the CCL. Please stay tuned.