- What are Export Controls?
Export Controls refer to an array of complex federal regulations prohibiting the export of certain materials, software or technology outside of the U.S. to enforce sanctions/boycotts imposed against specific countries based on reasons of foreign policy, national security or international trade agreements.
Export Controls also restrict “deemed exporting” which is the disclosure of controlled information and technology to foreign nationals both within the U.S. and outside the U.S.
While Export Control regulations primarily focus on information and technology related to military use or dual use (has civil and military applications) other information and technology can fall under the Controls due to the complexity of the regulations and the fact that three different Federal Agencies have Export Control regulations.
- What are the penalties for violating Export Control regulations?
Violations of Export Control regulations can result in jail time as well as financial penalties… as high as $1 million or more.
- Do Export Controls apply to DRI activities?
The regulations are applicable to all activities-research, teaching, and public service.
- How do Export Controls affect my work at DRI?
You may be subject to Export Controls if any of the following are true:
- You have contact with foreign nationals inside and/or outside of the United States (via foreign travel, providing tours, visiting collaborators, as employees, etc.);
- You use controlled or dual use equipment or technology (technology or equipment having military applications);
- Your sponsor restricts the publication of the project results including requiring prior approval before publishing; or
- You ship equipment outside of the U.S.
A foreign national is anyone who is not a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident alien of the US (a “green card holder”).
- Does this mean I cannot hire a foreign national?
The hiring of foreign nationals is not prohibited by Export Control regulations but certain conditions and precautions must be considered:
- The foreign national must be properly documented for work in the United States-i.e. possess the appropriate visa;
- The foreign national must not be on the denied persons lists;
- Depending on the foreign national’s country of citizenship, the foreign national may be restricted from having access to certain equipment or technology. This means that even if your activities are unregulated under Export Controls, the activities of faculty down the hall may be restricted and access to their technology/equipment needs to be limited;
- If the employment requires the foreign national to have use of controlled technology or equipment, one or more licenses may be required; and/or
- If your grant restricts the hiring of foreign nationals you should mention that in the job description.
- What do I need to do in order to ship equipment/software out of the country?
Each piece of equipment shipped out of the country must contain, by law, an ECCN (Export Control Classification Number) on the shipping documents. Because this often takes time to determine, it is important to allow at least a minimum of a week for staff to gather the information required for the documents. Note: Should your export require a license, it may take several months to obtain.
- Examples of Equipment used by DRI that may be subject to export controls:
Lasers, underwater cameras, ground penetrating radar, spectrophotometers, GPS systems, propulsion systems, radiation monitors, computers, particle counters, amplifiers, measurement and control systems and even nitrile gloves (yes really), etc.
- Exemptions from Export Control requirements
- Fundamental research exemption - applies to research results, not the equipment used to conduct the research. This applies only when the research results will be published in the public domain.
- Public Domain - applies when the information, equipment is readily available in the public domain, however, even if in the public domain we are not allowed to transfer technology to certain embargoed countries.
- What steps is DRI taking to ensure compliance?
- Providing training at several different levels of expertise:
- Faculty and Staff-general knowledge (what are they, who do I go see),
- Business Managers-higher level of knowledge to be able to handle most issues,
- Compliance Office-expert knowledge to assist when needed.
- Identifying specific projects subject to export controls. Your business manager will be contacting you regarding projects that raise concerns.
- Identifying controlled (sensitive) equipment and technology and assigning ECCN codes.
- Screening of vendors, employees and sponsors for denied persons list.
- Please provide HR with the names of any volunteers, visitors (for more than a typical 3 hour tour), so they can be screened.
- When using your purchasing card, please be aware of where the company is located and if there is a potential challenge, bring it to your business manager’s attention.
- Requiring the use of a designated shipper when shipping items outside of the United States.
- Working on an online foreign travel request form that will ask pertinent export control questions to assist faculty in complying while traveling abroad. This is probably a few months away.
- Isolating controlled technology from the general public by keeping it in restricted access areas.
- What do I need to do in order to comply?
Please consult with your business manager if:
- You are shipping anything into or outside of the United States;
- Your project limits your ability to publish your research results; or
- Your activities involve communications with a foreign national.