Federal Agency Oversight - Detail

Policies and Guidance
U.S. Department of Commerce

The Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) of the U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). The EAR primarily covers the export of “dual-use” commodities, software and technologies. Dual use items are those that have predominantly commercial uses, but that may also have the potential for military application. Items subject to the jurisdiction of the BIS are listed in the Commerce Control List (CCL) of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (pdf) created under the Export Administration Act of 1979 (EAA).

In addition, the BIS is charged with administering and enforcing Antiboycott Laws. The anti-boycott provisions encourage and, in some cases, require U.S. persons to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction. U.S. persons are also required to report receipt of boycott-related requests. The BIS also maintains the Denied Persons List and the Entity List, which identify specific persons and entities to which exports are not permitted without the prior approval of BIS.

U.S. Department of State

The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) of the U.S. Department of State administers the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) created under the Arms Export Control Act of 1976. Items regulated by the DDTC are described in the U.S. Munitions List of the ITAR.

The DDTC is charged with controlling the export and temporary import of defense articles and defense services covered that are specifically designed, developed, configured, adapted, or modified for a military application and, designating and determining defense articles and services.

‘Defense services’ include the furnishing of assistance (including training) to foreign persons, whether in the United States or abroad in the design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation, demilitarization, destruction, processing or use of defense articles, as well as furnishing technical data to foreign persons that is controlled under the ITAR.

U.S. Department of Treasury

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of Treasury is responsible for the administration and enforcement of economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign governments, individuals, entities, and practices based on foreign policy and national security goals, including terrorists and international narcotics traffickers and those engaged activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Trade sanctions may prohibit a number of activities of US citizens abroad, such as the transfer of items and services “of value” and travel embargoes to sanctioned nations. OFAC maintains the list of embargoed countries and a summary of the embargoes. As of 2010, the strictest embargoes have been imposed on Iran and Cuba.

OFAC also maintains lists of Specially Designated Terrorists and Specially Designated nations and Blocked Persons (SDN) with whom U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions due to U.S. foreign policy and national security concerns. Transfers of items and information to individuals or entities on these lists are prohibited without the prior approval of OFAC.

It is reasonable to assume that any transaction with OFAC embargoed countries should be reviewed to ensure that a general or specific license from OFAC is not required. License exemptions are very limited for these countries, particularly for Cuba and Iran.

To determine what limits there might be to your research, conference and travel plans to embargoed countries or regions please contact one of the individuals listed on the right.