Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and Commercial Exports

*This is an updated version of the December 10th blog post.

Key Takeaways:

  • Emerging technology sectors are being reviewed now for new export controls that could take effect in 2019 (list below).
  • You may submit comments on the criteria the U.S. government will use to determine what technologies are subject to export controls.
  • The deadline for comments has been extended to January 10, 2019.
  • We can help.


Continue Reading Comment Deadline Extended: Export Controls on Emerging Technologies

Key Takeaways:

  • Emerging technology sectors will soon be subject to new export controls.
  • Affected sectors include biotech, computing, artificial intelligence, positioning and navigation, data analytics, additive manufacturing, robotics, brain-machine interface, advanced materials, and surveillance.
  • New export controls on these sectors will likely require companies to obtain a license to export products to China and other destinations, and impose restrictions on sharing information with foreign nationals.
  • These sectors will also be added the list of industries subject to enhanced foreign investment scrutiny by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
  • The U.S. government has invited comments on the criteria to be used to establish new controls. The deadline for comments is December 19, 2018.

Export controls and other regulations often lag a step or two behind the times. That trend has accelerated with the pace of technological advancement. As a result, for many years, technical know-how in many cutting-edge technical fields has not been subject to export controls. This has meant that many commercial technical innovations could be freely exported without significant restrictions. As long as they were not designed for a military application, and no encryption technology involved, many new ideas developed in the United States were simply unaccounted for in the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

But the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is about to make up a lot of ground in a single, large leap.
Continue Reading The Little Regulation That Will Make a Big Change in How You Do Business: Department of Commerce to Establish New Export Controls on Emerging Technologies

With fewer than 100 days left in office, President Obama is not slowing down on his efforts to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba. Today, several changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) go into effect. Those changes build on the plan President Obama laid out in December 2014 to increase the means for Americans and Cubans to collaborate in business, education, travel, and humanitarian work. The amendments will strengthen the ties between the two countries, stimulate Cuba’s private sector, create commercial opportunities for both the American and Cuban people, and potentially improve the lives of many Cubans. U.S. companies looking to expand into Cuba should review these changes carefully to identify and develop strategies for growth.

We have included some highlights from the updated regulations below that could significantly  impact your business (or may prompt you to create a new one!). For the full CACR amendments, click here. For the full EAR amendments, click here.


Continue Reading Obama’s Not Slowing Down On Cuba: New Steps Forward Open Doors (and Humidors!) for Collaboration

Last week, researchers at Citizen Lab uncovered sophisticated new spyware that allowed hackers to take complete control of anyone’s iPhone, turning the phone into a pocket-spy to intercept communications, track movements and harvest personal data. The malicious software, codenamed “Pegasus,” is believed to have been developed by the NSO Group, an Israeli company (whose majority shareholder is a San Francisco based private equity firm) that describes itself as a “leader in cyber warfare” and sells its software — with a price tag of $1 million – primarily to foreign governments. The software apparently took advantage of three previously unknown security flaws in Apple’s iOS software, and was described by experts as “the most sophisticated” ever seen on the market. Apple quickly released a patch of its software, iOS 9.3.5, and urged users to download it immediately.


Continue Reading Espionage and Export Controls: The iPhone Hack Highlights The New World of Warfare

If you are not aware, please take note that the July 20, 2015 deadline is fast approaching for comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) proposed rule on the export control of certain intrusion and surveillance related software.  The proposed rule, which addresses changes to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR), is designed to align with agreements made in the December 2013 Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, a multilateral export control regime with 41 participating states committed to promoting transparency and responsibility in cross-border transfers of arms and dual-use goods and technologies.  The wide-reaching rule proposes adding new controls in Category 4 of the EAR’s Commerce Control List (CCL) intended to address “intrusion software” used by hackers and other cybercriminals.  The difficulty is that, in the way the proposed rule is worded (and explained), it also subjects network penetration testing products, the type that use “intrusion software” to identify cyber-vulnerabilities, to the same export licensing requirements.  That is to say, the manner in which the controlled intrusion software would be defined includes the good as well as the bad, and – could have a chilling effect on beneficial research and development of defensive software.
Continue Reading The Baby and the Bathwater: The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Intrusion and Surveillance Software Export Licensing Proposal

Every time there is a new round of reforms under the President’s Export Control Reform initiative, we hear the same advice:

  1. Controls on certain items are eliminated or reduced (which creates new opportunities for manufacturers and exporters); but
  2. The new rules bring new complexities, so be careful.

Attorneys in the export control space correspondingly inundate us with articles advising, in effect, call your export control lawyer.


Continue Reading Military Electronics Export Reform: Let the Chips Fall Where They May

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to restrict exports to Venezuela of certain items intended for “a military end use or end user.”  These changes complement a pre-existing U.S. arms embargo against Venezuela – in place since 2006 – that was imposed because of Venezuela’s failure to cooperate on counterterrorism initiatives.
Continue Reading Drop Your Weapons: The United States Restricts Military Exports to Venezuela

OFAC Expands the 50 Percent Rule

Last month, the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released new guidance related to entities owned or controlled by persons designated as a Specially Designated National (SDN) on OFAC’s SDN list.  Although the guidance leaves intact the current meaning “50 percent rule,” the rule will now allow OFAC to take a far broader approach in determining when the 50 percent rule applies.


Continue Reading New U.S. Restrictions on Russia: OFAC Guidance and Industry-Specific Sanctions

We frequently discuss enforcement actions in this blog, because understanding enforcement is a key aspect of trade compliance.  From a fifty-thousand foot view, each enforcement case serves as a cautionary tale about the overall need for compliance.  On a more granular level, enforcement actions provide valuable insight into how the government thinks about and targets violations of law.  These cases also showcase key details about international business practices that might pose “red flags,” and let us learn from others’ mistakes.  Effective compliance requires companies to commit high-level attention and large dollar amounts, but also requires entities to critically respond to the facts and details of particular markets on the ground.
Continue Reading Don’t try this at Home or Abroad: Export Controls and Sanctions Violations Lead to $21 Million in Penalties for Dutch Company Fokker Services B.V.