Federal Agencies and their Export Control Regulations

The following federal agencies and their export control regulations are most commonly associated with research activity at academic institutions in the US:

US Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)

Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) is the agency responsible for the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) which governs the export and temporary import of “defense articles and defense services” which are defined as items, information, software (defense articles), and technical assistance (defense services) specially designed or adapted for military use or which “provide a critical military or intelligence advantage.” Defense articles include certain satellites and spacecraft items.  

Items regulated under the defense articles and defense services are described under the US Munitions List under the ITAR.   

US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is the agency responsible for the  Export Administration Regulations (EAR) which govern “dual use” items and information predominantly civilian in nature but having military applications. Dual-use items that are identified on the EAR Commerce Control List (CCL) by an Export Control Commodity Number (ECCN), these items have a higher control than standard commercial items.

Items that are not listed on the CCL and not regulated under another agency, are designated as EAR99. EAR99 items generally consist of low-technology consumer goods and do not require a license in many situations. However, if you plan to export an EAR99 item to an embargoed country, to an end-user of concern, or in support of a prohibited end-use, you may be required to obtain a license.

The Office of Antiboycott Compliance (OAC) within BIS is responsible for administering and enforcing the Anti-Boycott Act of 2018. These authorities discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from taking certain actions in furtherance or support of a boycott maintained by a foreign country against a country friendly to the United States. U.S. companies must report to OAC their receipt of certain boycott-related requests for information designed to verify compliance with an unsanctioned foreign boycott. Prohibited activities include agreements by U.S. companies to refuse to do business with a boycotted country or with blacklisted persons for boycott-related reasons, furnishing information about any person’s business relationships with a boycotted country or with blacklisted persons, and implementation (by U.S. banking entities) of letters of credit that include prohibited boycott-related terms or conditions.

US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is responsible for the Foreign Assets Control Regulations (FACR). OFAC administers and enforces trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the U.S. they administer and enforces trade embargoes and economic sanctions. For reference, see OFAC Lists of Sanctioned, Programs and Country Information and Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs).

The United States government imposes comprehensive embargoes and other sanctions on certain countries. Current countries subject to comprehensive embargoes include Cuba, Iran, North Korea, (North), Syria, Crimea, and covered regions of Ukraine, all transactions with these countries are prohibited without a license authorization. There are also countries with targeted sanctions such as Sudan, Russia, and Venezuela, among others. Certain transactions and activities with countries that have targeted sanctions may still be prohibited or require license approval.

For more information on country sanctions and embargoes, please click here.

US Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for administering the Atomic Energy Act regulations which can be found in 10 CFR Part 810. The AEA controls assistance to foreign atomic energy activities and unclassified nuclear technology. The statutes that amended the AEA, delegate the control of nuclear energy primarily to DOE, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It enables peaceful nuclear trade by helping to assure that nuclear technologies exported from the United States will not be used for non-peaceful purposes.

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), 10 CFR 110.8 and 110.9, is responsible for overseeing the export of special nuclear material and authorizing general licenses to export these materials in specified quantities, in certain forms and/or as contained in consumer products, to any country not listed in 10 CFR 110.28 as an embargoed destination. For restricted destinations listed in 10 CFR 110.29, there are additional restrictions on the use of the general license for certain commodities. NRC general export licenses also authorize exports of certain minor nuclear reactor components to designated eligible recipient countries. Criteria for NRC general export license authorizations are provided for the following: