What is Export Control?

Federal regulations govern what scientific instruments, technologies, software and materials can be accessed by foreign nationals studying, visiting, or working in the U.S. and what items can be transferred internationally based on the type of item, end use, end user and country destination.

The federal agencies responsible for export control include (but are not limited to) the Departments of Commerce, State, Defense, Agriculture, Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NASA, National Security Agency, and Homeland Security. The Treasury Department’s OFAC regulations govern travel, academic, research and business transactions with certain specifically-sanctioned countries.

In addition, a subset of these regulations broadly restrict a U.S. “Person” (which includes United States universities) from conducting or facilitating an export (and, in certain cases, conducting a financial transaction) with persons or entities who are denied or restricted because of national security, nuclear, chemical/biological, economic sanctions or other federal concerns.

Depending on several key factors such as a) the country destination to which an item is being transferred; b) the citizenship of a foreign national for whom an item may be controlled; c) the technical specifications or capabilities of an item; or d) whether the intended recipient is denied or a restricted party, government agencies may require prior authorization in the form of an “export license” prior to the proposed transfer of the item. The failure to obtain and adhere to an export license constitutes an export violation.

Government agencies have significantly increased their enforcement of export control compliance to include universities and research institutions.

TAMU-CC, as well as individual principal investigators and staff, can be held liable for export control violations, with severe monetary penalties and sanctions including loss of export privileges and/or federal debarment.

What is an export?

“Exports” are defined in two principal ways:

  • International shipments or transfers of items or data abroad by any means; cargo shipments; electronic data transmission (email), spoken communication, hand carried articles, fax, and courier.

Deemed exports”: Foreign national access and/or use of export controlled items, technology, materials, software or data (hard or soft copy) occurring in the U.S. The export is “deemed” to occur upon the foreign national’s return to his/her country of citizenship or third country. However, if the access to or use of the controlled item (activity) would have required an export license given the foreign national’s citizenship, the violation occurs immediately when, in fact, such unauthorized activity occurs.

Who is a U.S. person?

Any natural person who is U.S. Citizen, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. (Green Card holder), or who is a protected individual as defined in 8 USC 1324b(c)(1&2) (refugees, asylees, and temporary residents under specific IRCA amnesty provisions). It also means any corporation, business association, partnership, trust, society or any other entity, organization or group that is incorporated to do business in the U.S. It also includes governmental (federal, state or local) entities.