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BIS Dual-Use Licensing

5/4/03 7:00 PM | Catherine J. Petersen | Export Regulations, Export License Determination
A customer service representative recently approached me at a seminar and told me about a phone conversation she had with one of her U.S. customers who was looking to export a product they sell. Her customer asked if she had an ECCN for her product since it seemed to be a “dual use” item that might need an export license.

A customer service representative recently approached me at a seminar and told me about a phone conversation she had with one of her U.S. customers who was looking to export a product they sell. Her customer asked if she had an ECCN for her product since it seemed to be a “dual use” item that might need an export license.

She needed help understanding what her customer meant.

According to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), part 730.3, dual use is used to distinguish those products covered by the EAR from those that are covered by the regulations of other U.S. government departments and agencies with export licensing responsibilities.

The term serves to distinguish EAR-controlled items:

  1. that can be used both in military and other strategic uses (e.g., nuclear) and commercial applications; and
  2. that can be used both in military and other strategic uses and in civil applications from those that are weapons and have a military-related use or design and are subject to the controls of the Department of State or subject to the nuclear related controls of the Department of Energy or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; however,
  3. the shorthand term dual use may be employed to refer to the entire scope of the EAR, since the EAR also applies to some items that have solely civil uses.

The Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS) is the agency responsible for administering export control laws and safeguarding U.S. national interests, including dual-use technologies.

The BIS maintains controls on exports from the United States and re-exports of U.S.-origin items from foreign destinations. The controls are on strategic commodities and technical data to prevent their diversion to hostile countries.

The United States participates in four multilateral control regimes that enhance the effectiveness of its export controls:

  1. Wassenaar Arrangement (e.g. conventional arms and related dual use items),
  2. Nuclear Suppliers Group,
  3. Australia Group (e.g. chemical precursors and biological agents), and
  4. Missile Technology Control Regime.

BIS implements U.S. foreign policy controls such as crime control, antiterrorism and regional stability and is responsible for export controls on terrorist countries. BIS also administers export controls to protect the United States from the adverse impact of the unrestricted export of commodities in short supply (e.g. some crude oil, other petroleum products, and unprocessed western red cedar).

BIS partners with a number of agencies and laboratories including:

Fictional Case Study

Gumbo Rubber Company, 65531 Gumbo Road, Fremont, California, regularly exports a variety of rubber insulators and connectors for electric fencing, power lines and facilities. Some of their customers request specific modifications. These customers operate nuclear power plants.

If the item is to be used in a nuclear power plant, then the exporter must investigate the regulations that cover dual use items. These would include, but may not be limited to, the Export Administration Regulations, regulations under the control of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Energy regulations.

It is important for each firm to develop an export compliance procedure and policy that all employees will follow to avoid violation of the regulations.