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Do the U.S. Export Laws Apply to Your Company?

February 11, 2011

Do the U.S. Export Laws Apply to Your Company?
The answer might not be as obvious as you think.

Many companies do not realize that the U.S. export laws may apply to their operations, especially if their products never leave the country. To find out whether the U.S. export laws may apply to your company, please take a few minutes to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you employ any foreign workers who have access to technical data?
    If so, your company should determine whether a license would be required to export the same data to the employee's native country. If so, a license is required for the employee to access the information -- even if nothing ever leaves the United States. This "deemed export" rule applies even though the foreign national has a valid work visa, though green card holders are exempt.
  2. Do you share technical data with any foreign subsidiaries or related entities?
    Export laws apply both to the export of physical products and to the transmission of information. If your company sends technical data or provides technical assistance overseas, it should determine whether it needs an export license to do so. Generally a license is required to export information or technical data that is needed to manufacture, maintain, test, repair, operate, modify, or otherwise
    use equipment or technologies that are under export control. Examples of technical data include blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, instructions, models, formulae, and engineering designs.
  3. If you export products, do you know the Export Control Classifi cation Number (ECCN) for each product?
    Depending on the classifi cation number and the destination country, export laws may require an export license.
  4. Do you make products that have been specifi cally designed for military end use?
    U.S. export laws can apply to products with military application -- even when those products never leave the United States.
  5. Have you checked whether your foreign customers appear on the government lists that prohibit exports to particular individuals and entities?
    You should not make any assumptions when answering this question. There are restricted entities in countries such as Canada, the U.K. and Germany. Checking these lists is a simple step that a company should take for every foreign customer.
  6. Have you checked to make sure that you do not export products to a restricted country?
    The government maintains lists for countries as well. You should be careful not to export if you have reason to suspect that your products might eventually end up in an embargoed country or in the hands of a restricted party.

In most cases, your company can export without much hassle and without violating any U.S. export laws. Certain products and situations, however, require special attention. If you are uncertain about how your answers to the questions listed above might impact your company's export compliance efforts, please give us a call.

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