Archive for the ‘BIS’ Category

BIS Extends Comment Period for Emerging Technologies

2018/12/23

The Bureau of Industry and Security issued a notice extending the comment period for the proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), “Review of Controls for Certain Emerging Technologies” until January 10, 2019 (recently the comment period would end on December 19, 2018).

You may submit comments through either of the following:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. The identification number for this rulemaking is BIS 2018–0024.
  • Address: By mail or delivery to Regulatory Policy Division, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 2099B, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230. Refer to RIN 0694–AH61.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kirsten Mortimer, Office of National Security and Technology Transfer Controls, Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce. Phone: (202) 482–0092; Fax (202) 482–3355; Email: Kirsten.Mortimer@bis.doc.gov.

Federal Register: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2018-12-14/pdf/2018-27148.pdf


CEO Pleads Guilty to Export Violations and Agrees to Pay $17 Million

2018/12/23

By: Danielle Hatch

Eric Baird, former owner and CEO of Access USA Shipping, LLC d/b/a MyUS.com (Access USA), had his criminal plea accepted by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) on December 12, 2018. BIS imposed a civil penalty of $17 million, with $7 million suspended, along with a 5-year denial of export privileges with one year being suspended. This is historically the largest penalty to be paid to BIS by an individual.

Are you wondering what this guy must have done to get the largest personal penalty? He went out of his way to hide illegal exports from the government…something they really frown upon. Baird founded Access USA and developed the business model of providing foreign customers with a US address so that they could acquire US origin items for export without alerting US merchants of the item’s ultimate destinations. Baird created policies and practices where it was normal for the values and descriptions of items on export documentation to be falsely identified. At one point, laser sights for firearms were described as “tools and hardware,” and rifle scopes were described as “sporting goods” or “tools, hand tools.” Baird even created a personal shopper program where Access USA employees purchased items for foreign customers from a shopping list and presented themselves as the domestic end users. At one point, Baird and Access USA employees were personally paying for the items and being reimbursed later by their foreign customers.

Access USA’s Chief Technology Officer emailed Baird in 2011 saying, “I know we are WILLINGLY AND INTENTIONALLY breaking the law.” In the same email thread Baird said, “if warned by the government,” then the company “can stop ASAP.”

Access USA settled with BIS in 2017 and agreed to a penalty of $27 million with $17 million suspended. You can read an article outlining the charges at: https://www.learnexportcompliance.com/blog/2017/03/30/florida-company-fined-27-million-for-150-intentional-ear-violations/

Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl/pr/former-florida-ceo-pleads-guilty-export-violations-and-agrees-pay-record-17-million


BIS Denies Export Privileges and OFAC Announces $2,774,972 Settlement with Jereh Group

2018/12/23

By: Danielle Hatch

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced a settlement with Yantai Jereh Oilfield Services Group Co., Ltd., of Yantai Shandong Province, China (“Yantai Jereh”) in conjunction with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

BIS alleges that the company committed four violations of the EAR (Acting with knowledge of a violation and making false statements to BIS during the course of an investigation. Yantai Jereh has agreed to pay $600,000 to BIS and the company’s 5-year denial period will be suspended if the company pays the BIS fine, in addition to the penalty under their OFAC Settlement Agreement (details below). If at any time, the company commits any violations of the Regulations or fails to pay its penalties on time, BIS can revoke the denial suspension.

The settlement between the OFAC and Yantai Jereh is concurrent with the BIS settlement. The main difference is that the company had 11 violations of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations causing a much larger fine of $2,774,972. All 11 violations involved exportation or rexxeportation or the attempted exportation or reexportation of US goods to Iran by way of China. Two of the 11 shipments of oilfield equipment spare parts (coiled tubing strings and pump sets) were seized by US Customs and Border Protection before they left the US.

OFAC determined that the violations constituted an egregious case and the company did not voluntarily disclose their violations.

BIS Charging Letter: https://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/export-violations/export-violations-2018/1206-e2573/file

OFAC Settlement: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20181212.aspx


Commerce Department Proposes Export Controls on Emerging Technologies

2018/12/23

By: George W. Thompson of Thompson & Associates, PLLC (gwt@gwthompsonlaw.com)

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Yogi Berra’s aphorism notwithstanding, the Commerce Department is attempting to do just that with its Review of Controls for Certain Emerging Technologiesand has enlisted all of us to help.

As provided by the Export Control Reform Act of 2018, Commerce seeks to identify “emerging and foundational technologies” that are “essential to the national security of the United States.” The goal is to restrict foreign access to designated technologies without hampering their development in the United States.

The end result will be an expansion of the Commerce Control List beyond its current coverage. Although the levels of control on such newly-designated items are open to discussion, the agency pointed out that “at a minimum it must require a license for the export of emerging and foundational technologies to countries subject to a U.S. embargo, including those subject to an arms embargo”.

That “arms embargo” language should catch your eye, since China is among the countries covered. This means that sharing of “emerging and foundational technologies” with China, as well as “deemed exports” to Chinese nationals, would become licensable transactions in place of their current license-free authorization.

Commerce has identified the following sectors to consider for designation as “emerging technologies”. (1) Biotechnology, (2) Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology, (3) Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) technology, (4) Microprocessor technology, (5) Advanced computing technology, (6) Data analytics technology,

(7) Quantum information and sensing technology, (8) Logistics technology, (9) Additive manufacturing (such as 3D printing), (10) Robotics, (11) Brain-computer interfaces, (12) Hypersonics, (13) Advanced materials and (14) Advanced surveillance technologies.

The agency seeks comments on such points as defining emerging technologies and their levels of development in the United States and abroad, identifying those important to national security, inclusion of other categories and the impact that “controls would have on U.S. technological leadership.” Although “foundational technologies” will be covered at a later date, Commerce also seeks comments “on treating emerging and foundational technologies as separate types of technology.”

Given that imported products from industry sectors within the “Made in China 2025” initiative have been covered by the Section 301 tariffs, the “emerging and foundational technologies” initiative seems like another full-bore effort to slow China’s technological development; in fact, there is some overlap between the two lists. The portents for U.S. companies and their foreign partners, of course, is that previously-unrestricted sharing of whatever technologies ultimately are designated is coming to a close.

Comments to the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security are due by January 10, 2019.


US Government Wants Hong Kong to Enforce Export Controls

2018/12/23

The US has been pushing Hong Kong to enforce more of the United Nations sanction on North Korea and Iran, as well as export controls on controlled items. The US Department of State and US Department of Commerce met with Hong Kong government agencies this month to look over recent steps that Hong Kong has taken to implement the sanctions. Hong Kong has passed new laws that will make it harder to register and operate shell companies in the city in hopes of keeping people from using the city as a “safe harbor” for illicit trade with North Korea.

In November, an annual report of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission suggested that the US Department of Commerce review its export control policy for civilian technology with military applications in relation to Hong Kong and China. The report said that Hong Kong was moving closer to becoming “more like any other Chinese city,”

More Details: https://www.hongkongfp.com/2018/12/10/us-urges-hong-kong-better-enforce-export-controls-un-sanctions-north-korea-iran/


Commerce Gives Industry 30 Days to Provide Comments Regarding Possible Export Controls over Emerging Technologies

2018/11/26

By: Kevin J. Wolf, Christian C. Davis, and Nicole M. D’Avanzo of Akin Gump

Key Points

  • The Bureau of Industry and Security published a notice today seeking public comments on how it should define and identify a wide variety of emerging technologies that are not now controlled for export, but should be because they are essential to the national security of the United States.
  • This request for comments is the public start to the most complex, intellectually challenging and economically significant effort to identify simultaneously multiple disparate categories of undefined emerging technologies for non-specific national security concerns that warrant (i) unilateral controls on their export to foreign countries, (ii) limitations on their release to foreign persons in the United States and (iii) additional mandatory filing requirements with CFIUS for non-controlling foreign investments of any size in U.S. businesses in a wide variety of sectors.
  • Comments are due on or before December 19, 2018—i.e., in 30 days.
  • “Representative general categories” of emerging technologies on which Commerce seeks comments “include” (i) “biotechnology”; (ii) “artificial intelligence”; (iii) “Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) technology”; (iv) “microprocessor technology”; (v) “advanced computing technology”; (vi) “data analytics technology”; (vii) “quantum information and sensing technology”; (viii) “logistics technology”; (ix) “additive manufacturing”; (x) “robotics”; (xi) “brain-computer interfaces”; (xii) “hypersonics”; (xiii) “advanced materials”; and (xiv) “advanced surveillance technologies.” The notice leaves open the possibility that other categories of technology will be captured in this process.
  1. The Request for Comments Is the Start of the Public Process to Address Concerns About Uncontrolled Transfers of Emerging Technologies

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) notice is the administration’s first public step to comply with the requirements of Section 1758 of the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA), which became law on August 13, 2018. As described in previous alerts, Congress created the section to address concerns about a provision in the bills introduced in late 2017 that would have expanded the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) over investments by U.S. companies in foreign countries that could result in the release to foreign persons of uncontrolled critical technology, including emerging and foundational technologies. Section 1758 addresses the policy concerns of the original CFIUS outbound control provision, but through an ongoing, regular-order, interagency export control process that includes public notice and comment.

Commerce has not proposed in the notice any new export controls or amendments to existing regulations. Rather, it seeks the public’s assistance in creating criteria for identifying specific emerging technologies that are “essential to the national security of the United States,” which is the statutory standard for imposing controls on emerging and foundational technologies. “National security” is not defined in the law or the notice. The notice’s examples of concerns to be addressed do not include the domestic economic policy concerns identified as national security issues in other administration actions, such as those pertaining to the importation of steel and aluminum. Rather, the examples provided are those with “potential conventional weapons, intelligence collection, weapons of mass destruction, or terrorist applications or could provide the United States with a qualitative military or intelligence advantage.”

The administration will review the public comments, along with its own analyses, as part of its plan to prepare a proposed rule to add emerging technologies to the Commerce Control List (CCL) of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The proposed rule will identify the countries, end uses or end users to which exports of the newly identified technologies would require a license. After interagency review of the comments on the proposed rule, Commerce plans to publish a final rule implementing the new controls. (If the final rule is consistent with the EAR’s “deemed export” rule, releases of the technology to foreign persons in the United States would require a license if a license was required to export the technology to that person’s home country.) The notice does not contain a schedule for when these events will occur. ECRA requires the administration to ask the relevant multilateral export control regimes to add the newly controlled emerging technologies to the multilateral export control lists. Until and unless that happens, however, the controls will be unilateral, meaning that only the United States will impose them.

The implications of this emerging technology effort are not just with respect to potentially new export controls. Any technologies identified in the export control regulations as “emerging” will also be “critical technologies” under the new CFIUS law, the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA). As described in our earlier alert, this means that U.S. businesses that produce, design, test, manufacture, fabricate or develop such technologies and use them in or design them for targeted sectors would be subject to a CFIUS pilot program implementing FIRRMA. Consequently, controlling foreign investments, along with certain non-controlling foreign investments, would be subject to a mandatory filing requirement with CFIUS 45 days before closing.

  1. Standards for Determining What Emerging Technologies Should Become Controlled

In deciding whether to identify a technology as “emerging” and impose controls on its export, ECRA Section 1758 requires the administration to take into account:

  • the development of the technology in foreign countries
  • the effect that export controls imposed pursuant to this section may have on the development of the technology in the United States
  • whether export controls would be effective in limiting the technology’s proliferation to, or development in, foreign countries.

Section 1758 is an element of the broader ECRA statement of policy for export controls, which is that the United States should “use export controls only after full consideration of the impact on the economy of the United States and only to the extent necessary — (A) to restrict the export of items which would make a significant contribution to the military potential of any other country or combination of countries which would prove detrimental to the national security of the United States; and (B) to restrict the export of items if necessary to further significantly the foreign policy of the United States or to fulfill its declared international obligations.”

III. The Representative Emerging Technologies Identified

Neither the notice nor ECRA defines the term “emerging” technologies. To help inform the administration’s development of a proposed rule, the notice lists several broad categories of technologies that may meet the standard of “emerging” for public comment. The listed technologies are “representative” of only the types of technologies that might be considered “emerging” and warranting control. They include:

  • “Biotechnology, such as (i) nanobiology; (ii) synthetic biology; (iii) genomic and genetic editing; (iv) or neurotech”
  • “Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology, such as (i) neural networks and deep learning (e.g., brain modeling, time series prediction, classification); (ii) evolution and genetic computation (e.g., genetic algorithms, genetic programming); (iii) reinforcement learning; (iv) computer vision (e.g., object recognition, image understanding); (v) expert systems (e.g., decision support systems, teaching systems); (vi) speech and audio processing (e.g., speech recognition and production); (vii) natural language processing (e.g., machine translation); (viii) planning (e.g., scheduling, game playing); (ix) audio and video manipulation technologies (e.g., voice cloning, deepfakes); (x) AI cloud technologies; or (xi) AI chipsets”
  • “Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) technology”
  • “Microprocessor technology, such as (i) Systems-on-Chip (SoC) or (ii) Stacked Memory on Chip”
  • “Advanced computing technology, such as (i) “memory-centric logic”
  • “Data analytics technology, such as (i) visualization; (ii) automated analysis algorithms; or (iii) context-aware computing”
  • “Quantum information and sensing technology, such as (i) quantum computing; (ii) quantum encryption; or (iii) quantum sensing”
  • “Logistics technology, such as (i) mobile electric power; (ii) modeling and simulation; (iii) total asset visibility; or (iv) distribution-based logistics systems (DBLS)”
  • “Additive manufacturing (e.g. 3D printing)”
  • “Robotics such as (i) micro-drone and micro-robotic systems; (ii) swarming technology; (iii) self-assembling robots; (iv) molecular robotics; (v) robot compilers; or (vi) Smart Dust”
  • “Brain-computer interfaces, such as (i) neural-controlled interfaces; (ii) mind-machine interfaces; (iii) direct neural interfaces; or (iv) brain-machine interfaces”
  • “Hypersonics, such as (i) flight control algorithms; (ii) propulsion technologies; (iii) thermal protection systems; or (iv) specialized materials (for structures, sensors, etc.)”
  • “Advanced Materials, such as (i) adaptive camouflage; (ii) functional textiles (e.g., advanced fiber and fabric technology); or (iii) biomaterials”
  • “Advanced surveillance technologies, such as faceprint and voiceprint technologies.”

These are not the headings in the notice; they are the entirety of the topics listed for public comment. No additional details or definitions are provided about the meaning of these terms. The notice also does not contain any commentary or guidance on what the potential national security concerns are, or could be, with respect to such technologies, or why Commerce identified these technologies as examples.

  1. The Comments That Commerce Seeks

Commerce asks industry for comments—within the next 30 days—on:

  • how the administration should define emerging technologies
  • what the criteria should be for determining whether there are specific technologies within these general categories that are important to U.S. national security
  • what sources the administration can refer to in order to identify emerging technologies
  • what other general technology categories might be important to U.S. national security and warrant control
  • information about the status of development of the listed technologies in the United States and other countries
  • information about what impact the specific emerging technology controls would have on U.S. technological leadership
  • suggestions for other approaches to identifying emerging technologies warranting controls.

BIS’s first request for comment is about how the administration should define emerging technologies. Because this request is not for advice about abstract or generally applicable definitions, but rather about how the term should be defined in the context of export controls to address the policy concerns that motivated ECRA, a logical approach would be to bind the definition by the statements of policy in ECRA for why the export control system exists and what it is designed to accomplish. Also, given that ECRA Section 1758 is focused on identifying both emerging and foundational technologies, a definition should not include foundational technologies. Thus, an example of a definition that would be consistent with the ECRA standards could be something along the lines of:

“Emerging technologies” are specific, non-mature (i.e., developmental) core technologies essential to the national security of the United States that:

  1. are required for the development, production, use, operation, installation, maintenance, repair, overhaul or refurbishing of specific and identifiable potential conventional weapons, intelligence collection, weapons of mass destruction or terrorist applications;
    ii. could provide the United States with a specific and identifiable qualitative military or intelligence advantage;
    iii. are not available in or otherwise being developed in foreign countries; and
    iv. are not within the scope of any existing multilateral controls.

Note: A technology must not be identified or controlled as “emerging” unless it is within the scope of policy statements in ECRA for which technologies should be controlled for export. In particular, a technology must not be so identified if a unilateral export control over it would:

  1. harm domestic research into the identified technology;
    ii. not be effective at preventing countries of concern from developing it indigenously or otherwise acquiring comparable technology from third countries;
    iii. be imposed without full consideration of the impact on the economy of the United States of such a control; or
    iv. is of a type that is not likely to be considered acceptable by the multilateral regime allies, or that is inconsistent with the standards for the types of controls that are subject to the multilateral regimes.

Each commenter will likely have its own take on how to approach BIS’s first question. Nonetheless, this is an example of a definition that would be consistent with the standards in ECRA.

  1. Items to Which the Notice Does Not Apply

Both ECRA and the notice refer to only possible additional controls on emerging “technology.” ECRA defines “technology” as including “information, in tangible or intangible form, necessary for the development, production, or use of an item.” Thus, the scope of the notice is limited to possible new controls on information that is within the scope of the term “technology” and does not include possible new controls on commodities (i.e., physical items) or software.

The notice also does not apply to “foundational” technologies, which will be the subject of a similar process beginning in 2019. It also does not apply to technology the EAR already exempts from being “subject to the EAR,” such as information that results from “fundamental research” or that is “published” information. This does not mean that EAR99 technologies— technologies that are “subject to the EAR” but not identified on the EAR’s CCL—are exempt from the notice’s scope. To the contrary, the entire purpose of the effort is to identify EAR99 technologies that should be added to the CCL and controlled.

Finally, the notice does not apply to technology already identified on the CCL, the U.S. Munitions List (USML), or another of the U.S. government’s export control lists. Thus, for example, the notice does not seek comment on technology or technical data directly related to or required for the development or production of military items because they are already controlled on the CCL or the USML in specific and broad catch-all categories. Herein lies one of the significantly challenging aspects of the effort. The administration is asking industry to provide advice on which non-mature technologies not directly related to or required for military items are “essential to the national security of the United States.” This is, of course, better than not asking for comments and is an important effort required by ECRA, but it is nonetheless an inherently difficult one for those experts in the referenced technologies who have no national security experience.

  1. Who Should Prepare and File Comments, and What Should They Include?

The notice is open for comments from the public. In particular, any company that develops or produces the types of technologies described on the representative list, or individuals who are experts in the listed or other potentially emerging technologies, should consider submitting comments. Industry will often have more information than the government about their own technologies, including whether they qualify under the statutory standards, and how to describe most accurately the technologies at issue.

Industry will also generally have more information than the government on which technologies are already being developed outside the United States. If a technology is already available outside the United States, ECRA makes clear that it would generally not be a good candidate for a unilateral (i.e., U.S.-only) control because the United States will have no ability to curtail its transfer to destinations, end uses and end users of concern. For comments on foreign availability to be effective, they must be supported with evidence. Companies will, of course, not have proprietary information of their competitors. They will, however, often have a sense for comparable technologies that competitors and academics are already developing through sources such as academic publications, web sites, trade shows, customer comments and government reports.

Industry is also generally in a better position to describe whether, as both a legal and a psychological matter, the imposition of a unilateral export control (and increased foreign investment controls) on a particular technology would be harmful or helpful to domestic research into the identified technology, such as through loss or gain of investments, foreign markets or the availability of qualified professionals necessary to develop it. In particular, commenters should provide estimates in their comments on what the economic implications would be—good or bad—of a unilateral control on the technology and economic sector they know best. Similarly, if a company or individual has reason to believe that an uncontrolled emerging technology has specific application to a conventional weapon, intelligence collection capability, weapon of mass destruction or terrorist activities, or would help or harm a qualitative military or intelligence advantage for the United States, then the notice asks for such information.

All comments filed are made public. Some companies and individuals, however, may not want to publicly disclose what a particularly sensitive military application for their technology could be. Others may not want to describe publicly, and thus to their competitors, what novel commercially sensitive technologies they are developing. If one has such concerns, a common next step is to contact Commerce to discuss how or whether it would be possible for the government to nonetheless get the benefit of the insight.

VII. 30 Days Over the Holidays

Commerce is asking for a massive amount of difficult-to-assemble information on a wide variety of non-mature, hard-to-define technologies, and subsets thereof, and commentary on national security concerns known to only a few people outside of government within 30 days. This period is not only over the holiday season, but also in the heart of the fourth quarter when company engineers, researchers, sales staff, management and other professionals are focused on completing annual sales, shipments and other goals. Although responses to most BIS notices can be primarily handled by trade compliance professionals, quality responses to this notice largely depend upon time-consuming and thoughtful input from professionals not normally involved in export control issues.

BIS requests for information involving far less complex issues have had far longer comment periods. For example, BIS gave industry 60 days to submit comment on (i) possible changes to controls on a small number of specific infrared detection items, (ii) possible controls over spraying and fogging systems, and (iii) whether requirements should be imposed on the export of electronic waste.

ECRA does not impose a 30-day, or any other, time limit on this process or require that all emerging technologies of potential national security concern are of equal significance. Moreover, a core element of ECRA Section 1758 is that the identification process be informed by “multiple sources of information.” There will indeed be a proposed rule on which industry will have an opportunity to provide comments before any final controls are imposed. If, however, you do not believe that 30 days is sufficient to provide comments commensurate with the national and economic security significance, and technological complexity, of such a proposed rule, then you should make that comment, too, and ask for additional time, ideally before Thanksgiving.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact your Akin Gump lawyer, or:

Kevin J. Wolf
Email
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.887.4051

Christian C. Davis
Email
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.887.4529

Nicole M. D’Avanzo
Email
Washington, D.C.
+1 202.887.4557


BIS Amends EAR & CCL to Implement Changes Made to the WA List

2018/11/26

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has implemented changes to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the Commerce Control List (CCL) to implement changes made to the Wasaenaar Arrangement List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies (WA List) which were agreed upon by all the governments participating in the Wassenaar Arrangement at the December 2017 Plenary meeting. This ruling also includes associated changes to the EAR and a few corrections. The rule became effective on October 24, 2018.

Relevant CCL Changes (final rule revised 50 ECCNS, ECCNs with editorial changes excluded below):

  • Category 0—Nuclear Materials, Facilities, and Equipment [and Miscellaneous Items] 0A617 Miscellaneous ‘‘Equipment’’, Materials, and Related Commodities
    • 0A617 paragraph y.3, containers for shipping or packing defense articles or items controlled by ‘‘600 series’’ ECCNs, is amended by narrowing the scope to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) intermodal containers or demountable vehicle bodies (i.e., swap bodies), but also expands the scope beyond ‘‘specially designed’’ by adding ‘‘or modified’’. As the term ‘modified’ is in single quotes, BIS is also adding the technical note that defines ‘modified,’ which was already existing text in Wassenaar Arrangement Military List of 2017 (WAML 17).
  • Category 1—Special Materials and Related Equipment, Chemicals, ‘‘Microorganisms’’, and ‘‘Toxins’’
    • 1C001: Subparagraph b is amended by moving the phrase ‘‘not transparent to visible light’’ to the beginning and adding more descriptive text ‘‘near-infrared radiation having a wavelength’’ to clarify the scope of the control. Also, the parameters are changed from ‘‘1.5 × 1014 Hz’’ to ‘‘810 nm’’ and ‘‘3.7 × 1014 Hz’’ to ‘‘2,000 nm (frequencies exceeding 150 THz but less than 370 THz)’’. (The frequency band is changed to the equivalent wavelength band to make the parameter easier to understand and not to change the scope of control.)
    • 1C608: WA agreed to add a Note specifying that WAML 8.c.1 does not apply to aircraft fuels—JP–4, JP–5 and JP–8. This rule adds this Note below 1C608.n ‘‘Any explosives, ‘propellants,’ oxidizers, ‘‘pyrotechnics’’, fuels, binders, or additives . . .’’ as well as bringing forth another Note from WAML 8.c.1 that specifies that aircraft fuels specified by WAML 8.c.1 are finished products, not their constituents.
  • Category 2—Materials Processing
    • 2A001 Note 2 at the beginning of the Items paragraph is amended by adding ‘‘(or national equivalents)’’, in order to help efficiently classify bearings using national standards that are equivalent to ISO 3290 as grade 5. 2B001 Machine Tools.
    • 2B006 heading is revised to add ‘‘position feedback units’’ and ‘‘electronic assemblies’’ to more accurately describe the scope of controls in Items paragraph .b.
      • Linear Variable Differential Transformer (LVDT) systems formerly in 2B006.b.1.b are moved to 2B206.d and no longer have a national security control.
    • 2B007 paragraph .a ‘‘[Robots] capable in real-time of full three-dimensional image processing or full three dimensional ‘‘scene analysis’’ to generate or modify ‘‘programs’’ or to generate or modify numerical program data’’ is removed and reserved because of insufficient connection to military capabilities. Robots of national security concern are controlled under 2B007.b, .c and .d.
    • 2B008 heading is amended by replacing ‘‘assemblies or units’’ with ‘compound rotary tables’ and ‘‘tilting spindles’’, as well as removing ‘‘or dimensional inspection or measuring systems and equipment’’ to align with revisions made to the List of Items Controlled in this ECCN.
      • Item paragraphs .a (linear position feedback units) and .b (rotary position feedback units) are removed and reserved, because this rule moves these items to 2B006.b.2 and .c, respectively.
      • Item paragraph .c is amended by replacing and cascading the parameter paragraphs, as well as moving the definition for ‘compound rotary table’ from part 772 to a Technical Note under this Item paragraph.
    • 2B206 is amended by adding Linear Variable Differential Transformer (LVDT) systems to Item paragraph .d, because this item is removed from 2B006.b.1.b. While LVDT systems are no longer controlled for national security reasons, they are still on the Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG) list under 1.B.3.b.2 and remain controlled for nuclear nonproliferation reasons on the CCL.
    • 2E003 paragraph .a (‘‘technology’’ for the ‘‘development’’ of interactive graphics as an integrated part in ‘‘numerical control’’ units for preparation or modification of part programs) is removed and reserved because of the advancement of technology.
      • Item paragraph .a is removed from License Exception TSR.
    • Category 3—Electronics Product Group A. ‘‘End Items’’, ‘‘Equipment’’, ‘‘Accessories’’, ‘‘Attachments’’, ‘‘Parts’’, ‘‘Components’’, and ‘‘Systems’’
      • 3A001 is amended by replacing ‘‘Electrical Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memories (EEPROMS), flash memories, and MRAMs’’ with ‘non-volatile memories’ and adding a Technical Note to define ‘non-volatile memories,’ to provide a more generic term for these types of memory integrated circuits.
        • Paragraph a.5.a ‘‘ADCs’’ and the Technical Note below a.5.a are amended by replacing the term ‘‘output rate’’ with the ‘‘sample rate’’ as measured points at the input, except for oversampling (defined as output sample rate), and the Technical Note identifies common ways manufacturers specify ‘sample rate.’ The definition for ‘‘sample rate’’ is added to part 772 ‘‘Definition of Terms. . . .’’
        • Item paragraph a.5.b.2.a, ‘‘settling time’’ parameter, is amended by adding ‘‘arrive at or within’’ to clarify the potentially ambiguous parameter with common usage and understanding of DAC specifications, so that it will not be misinterpreted to mean the time to deviate by the specific amount from the original level.
        • Intensity, amplitude, or phase electrooptic modulators, designed for analog signals, including electro-optic modulators having optical input and output connectors are added to new paragraph 3A001.i to address photonic components for analog Radio Frequency (RF) over fiber antenna remoting, and analog RF distribution of signals. One of the parameters for these items is ‘halfwave voltage’ (‘Vp’), which is defined in a Technical Note below the new paragraph. These items will be eligible for License Exception GBS; therefore, the GBS paragraph is revised to add Item paragraph .i.
      • 3A002 frequency parameter is raised from ‘‘exceeding 10 MHz’’ to ‘‘exceeding 40 MHz’’ for signal analyzers having a 3 dB resolution bandwidth (RBW) in Item paragraph c.1
      • 3B001 Mask ‘‘substrate blanks’’ with multilayer reflector structure consisting of molybdenum and silicon being ‘‘specially designed’’ for ‘Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV)’ lithography and being compliant with SEMI Standard P37 are added to new paragraph 3B001.j, because mask ‘‘substrate blanks’’ and the subsequent substrate blank with multilayer reflector structure are critical materials for EUV lithography 7. EUV lithography opens up integrated circuit fabrication at the most advanced state-of-the-art technology node. The definition for ‘Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV)’ is added to a Technical Note below Item paragraph j.2.
      • 3B002 Test Equipment ‘‘Specially Designed’’ for Testing Finished or Unfinished Semiconductor Devices Item paragraph .a is revised from ‘‘For testing S-parameters of transistor device at frequencies exceeding 31.8 GHz’’ to read ‘‘For testing S-parameters of items specified by 3A001.b.3’’ to remove potential overlapping controls for network analyzers (which measure Sparameters) described in 3A002.e, to harmonize the control text of equipment for testing S-parameters of transistors specified in paragraphs 3A001.b.3.a and 3A001.b.3.b (i.e., transistors that are below 31.8 GHz), and to remove ambiguity regarding the meaning of the phrase ‘‘transistor devices’’ by substituting the unambiguous reference to transistors specified by 3A001.b.3.
      • 3C002 wavelength for positive resists in Item paragraph a.1 is revised from ‘‘wavelengths less than 245 nm . . . .’’ to ‘‘wavelengths less than 193 nm . . . .’’ in order to match the material control with the lithography equipment parameters in 3B001.f.1.a.
      • 3C005 heading revised to move the items that were in the Heading to Items paragraph .a. Polycrystalline ‘‘substrates’’ or polycrystalline ceramic ‘‘substrates’’ are added to Item paragraph .b, because there are both military and commercial applications for microwave transistors fabricated on the engineered substrates. These newly added substrates will be controlled for NS:2 and AT:1 and have License Exception LVS ($3,000), GBS and CIV eligibility.
      • 3C006 heading is amended by adding ‘‘Materials, not specified by 3C001, consisting of a’’ at the beginning of the Heading in order to clarify the scope of the control.
        • The former language of 3C001, 3C005 and 3C006 has common elements that have led to some confusion around the control of silicon carbide wafers.
        • 3C992 heading is amended by replacing the wavelength range from ‘‘370 and 245 nm’’ to ‘‘370 and 193 nm.’’
      • 3E001 Note 3 is added to exclude from 3E001 ‘Process Design Kits’ (‘PDKs’) unless they include libraries implementing functions or technologies for items specified by 3A001. A Technical Note is added below Note 3 to define ‘Process Design Kit’ (‘PDK’). PDKs do not provide knowledge about production tools.
    • Category 4—Computers
      • 4A003 Adjusted Peak Performance (APP) is raised from ‘‘exceeding 16 WT’’ to ‘‘exceeding 29 WT’’ in Item paragraph .b and in accordance with this revision the APP is raised to 29 in the AT control text in the License Requirements table and in two places in the Note to the table.
      • 4D001 Adjusted Peak Performance (APP) is raised from 16 Weighted TeraFLOPs (WT) to 29 WT in License Exceptions TSR and STA in accordance with the new APP level in 4A003.b. The APP control level is raised from ‘‘exceeding 8 WT’’ to ‘‘exceeding 15 WT’’ in Item paragraph b.1. These revisions continue to address the need to track incremental (e.g., ‘‘Moore’s Law’’) improvements in microprocessor technology.
    • Category 5—Part 1— ‘‘Telecommunications’’
      • 5A001 In the NS Column 1 paragraph of the License Requirements table, the order of the referenced Item paragraphs is corrected. For telecommunications equipment specially designed to withstand transitory electronic effects or electromagnetic pulse effects, the temperature range parameters is changed from ‘‘to operate outside the temperature range from 218K (-55 °C) to 397 K (124 °C)’’ to ‘‘below 218K (-55°C)’’ in Item paragraph a.3 or ‘‘above 397 K (124 °C)’’ in new Item paragraph a.4, which does not change the scope of control, but seeks to make the text easier to understand.
        • Because of technology advances, phased array antennae are increasingly being developed for civil telecommunications applications, including cellular, WLAN, 802.15, and wireless HDMI. Exclusion Note 2 is added in order to remove from control phased array antennae specially designed for those purposes.
      • Category 5—Part 2
        • 5A002 Paragraph .a is amended by replacing the phrase ‘‘where that cryptographic capability is usable without ‘‘cryptographic activation’’ or has been activated’’ with the phrase ‘‘where that cryptographic capability is usable, has been activated, or can be activated by means of ‘‘cryptographic activation’’ not employing a secure mechanism’’. The revision clarified that an item is controlled if (1) the ‘cryptography for data confidentially’ is usable from the beginning regardless of ‘‘cryptographic activation’’ (i.e., not dormant), (2) the cryptographic capability was previously dormant but is now usable (whether by ‘‘cryptographic activation’’ or by other means; or (3) the ‘‘cryptographic activation’’ mechanism is not secure (i.e., the cryptographic capability is not securely kept dormant). Items paragraph .b is amended by replacing ‘‘to enable’’ an item with ‘‘for converting’’ an item and replacing ‘‘to achieve or exceed the controlled performance levels for functionality specified by 5A002.a that would not otherwise be enabled’’ with ‘‘not specified by Category 5 —Part 2 into an item specified by 5A002.a or 5D002.c.1, and not released by the Cryptography Note (Note 3 in Category 5—Part 2), or for enabling, by means of ‘‘cryptographic activation’’, additional functionality specified by 5A002.a of an item already specified by Category 5— Part 2’’. This clarifies that a ‘‘cryptographic activation’’ mechanism is controlled by 5A002.b in two situations: (1) It converts an item classified outside of Category 5—Part 2 into a 5A002.a item (e.g., by activating ‘cryptography for data confidentiality’ capability in an item that was previously limited to performing ‘‘authentication,’’ or by activating encryption capability which disqualifies a product from the Cryptography Note exclusion (Note 3 in Category 5—Part 2)); or (2) it enables additional functionality specified in 5A002.a in an item that was already classified in Category 5—Part 2 (e.g., making additional encryption algorithms usable by the item, or that would change the item from being eligible or described under § 740.17(b)(1) into an item described under § 740.17(b)(2) or (3)).
        • 5D002 Paragraph .b of ECCNs 5D002 and 5E002 is amended by replacing ‘‘enable’’ with ‘‘for converting’’ and replacing ‘‘to meet the criteria for functionality specified by 5A002.a, that would not otherwise be met’’ with ‘‘not specified by Category 5—Part 2 into an item specified by 5A002.a or 5D002.c.1, and not released by the Cryptography Note (Note 3 in Category 5—Part 2), or for enabling, by means of ‘‘cryptographic activation’’, additional functionality specified by 5A002.a of an item already specified by Category 5— Part 2’’. These revisions are made to create mirroring entries consistent with the changes being made to 5A002.b.
      • Category 6—Sensors and Lasers
        • 6A002 Paragraph .f is added to establish a control for Read-Out Integrated Circuits (ROICs) to ensure that certain ROICs not controlled on the Munitions List, but that provide night vision capability, are controlled. In order to maintain consistent paragraph placement with the WA List this rule adds and reserves Items paragraph .e, so that ROICs can be added to Item paragraph .f. For consistency, Items paragraph .f is added to the Regional Stability controls (RS Column 1) in the License Requirements section, because 6A990, where ROICs were formerly controlled, was controlled for RS Column 1.
        • 6A003 paragraphs a.1 (high-speed cinema recording cameras) and a.2 (mechanical high speed cameras) are removed and reserved because of the advancement of technology. Item paragraph a.3.a (mechanical streak cameras) is also removed because of the advancement of technology. As a result of this change, electronic streak cameras are moved from Item paragraph a.3.b to a.3.
        • 6A004 Dynamic wavefront measuring equipment is added to Item paragraph .f, with parameters in subparagraphs and a Technical Note at the end to define ‘‘frame rate’’. The purpose of wavefront sensing is to measure the level of the wavefront aberration as it is transferred through an optical system, regardless if the source of that aberration is the optical system itself or something external to that system. Wavefront sensors are principally used as one of the main components of adaptive optics systems where they serve to close the control loop and feed the information about the required correction to deformable mirrors and beam steering mirrors in real-time, which are also controlled in this ECCN.
        • 6A005 Item paragraph f.1 (dynamic wavefront (phase) measuring equipment) is removed and reserved, because this item is moved to ECCN 6A004.f, because of its close association to the mirrors controlled in 6A004. A Nota Bene is added to point to the new Item paragraph where this item is controlled. Item paragraph f.2 (‘‘Laser’’ diagnostic equipment) is amended by replacing ‘‘capable of measuring’’ with ‘‘specially designed for dynamic measurement of’’ and replacing ‘‘equal to or less than’’ with ‘‘and having an angular ‘‘accuracy’’ of’’ to refine the scope of the entry. The phrase ‘‘(microradians) or less (better)’’ is added after ‘‘10 mrad’’ to clarify the unit. Item paragraph f.3 (Optical equipment and components) is amended by moving the phrase ‘‘coherent beam combination’’ for better readability. The ‘‘accuracy’’ parameter is cascaded down to Item paragraph f.3.b and a new ‘‘accuracy’’ parameter is added to f.3.a, so that the equipment is controlled if it meets either of the ‘‘accuracy’’ parameters.
      • Category 9—Aerospace and Propulsion
        • 9A002 Heading is amended by revising and moving the parameter ‘‘with an ISO standard continuous power rating of 24,245 kW or more and a specific fuel consumption not exceeding 0.219 kg/ kWh in the power range from 35 to 100%’’ to the Items paragraph and adding ‘‘designed to use liquid fuel and having all of the following (see List of Items Controlled),’’ to the Heading. Two parameters are added for this ECCN: Maximum continuous power and ‘corrected specific fuel consumption’. (These revisions therefore do not change the scope of the existing control text, but rather clarify it by making it clear that the specific fuel consumption of concern applies at the ‘‘turndown performance’’ of 35%.)
        • 9A004 The scope of Item paragraph f.1 (Telemetry and telecommand equipment) is clarified by adding ‘‘specially designed’’ and two specific end uses in order to eliminate data processing equipment for mission data, such as GPS, science data, communication and broadcasting, since this data is not meant to be controlled under 9A004.f.1. The scope of Item paragraph f.2 (Simulators) is narrowed by adding ‘‘specially designed for ‘verification of operational procedures’ of ‘‘spacecraft’’.
        • 9D004 Paragraph .b (‘‘Software’’ for testing aero gas turbine engines, assemblies, ‘‘parts’’ or ‘‘components’’) is amended by removing the parameter and cascading subparagraphs with specific features or functions, such as ‘‘specially designed’’ for testing aero gas turbine engines . . . , to clarify and focus (narrow) the scope of control. A Note is added above Item paragraph .c to exclude software for operation of the test facility or operator safety, or production, repair or maintenance acceptance-testing . . .’’

Relevant EAR (Relevant changes listed below with editorial changes excluded):

  • Part 772: This rule removes 37 definitions from § 772.1 and adds them to the ECCNs where they are used. According to the WA drafting guidelines, if a term is only used in a single ECCN, then the definition must be in a Technical Note close to where that term is used.
  • Supplement No. 6 to Part 774: Sensitive List Paragraph (1)(i), ECCN 1A002, is amended by narrowing the scope from all of ECCN 1A002 to only subparagraph a.1 ‘‘ ‘‘Composite’’ structures or laminates made from an organic ‘‘matrix’’ and ‘‘fibrous or filamentary materials’’ specified by 1C010.c or 1C010.d’’, because the rest of the items in ECCN 1A002 do not warrant control on the Sensitive List as they are not key technologies.
  • Supplement No. 7 to Part 774: Very Sensitive List Paragraph (1)(i), ECCN 1A002, is amended by narrowing the scope from subparagraph .a to subparagraph a.1 (‘‘Composite’’ structures or laminates made from an organic ‘‘matrix’’ and ‘‘fibrous or filamentary materials’’ specified by 1C010.c or 1C0010.d), because the rest of the items in ECCN 1A002.a do not warrant control on the Sensitive List as they are not key technologies.
  • Section 740.16: License Exception APR is amended to remove a reference to ECCN 6A990 in paragraphs (a)(2) and (b)(2)(v), because ECCN 6A990 is removed from the CCL by this rule. ROICs are now specified in 6A002.f.
  • Section 740.20 License Exception STA is amended to remove reference to ECCNs 6A990 and 6E990 from paragraph (b)(2)(x), because these ECCNs are removed from the CCL. ROICs are now specified in 6A002.f and ROIC technology is specified in ECCNs 6E001 and 6E002.
  • Section 742.6: Regional Stability Paragraph (b)(1)(ii) is amended by removing reference to ECCN 6E990, because this ECCN is removed by this rule. ROIC technology is now controlled under ECCNs 6E001 and 6E002.
  • Section 744.9: Restrictions on Exports, Reexports, and Transfers (In-Country) of Certain Cameras, Systems, or Related Components Section 744.9 is amended by removing reference to ECCN 6A990 from paragraphs (a) and (b), because this ECCN is removed from the CCL. ROICs are now controlled under ECCN 6A002.f.

Federal Register Notice: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2018-10-24/pdf/2018-22163.pdf


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.