Export controls are U.S. laws and regulations that govern the distribution of technology, services and information to foreign nationals and foreign countries for reasons including foreign policy and national security. Export controls usually arise for one or more of the following reasons:
- The export has actual or potential military applications or economic protection issues.
- Government concerns about the destination country, organization or individual.
- Government concerns about the declared or suspected end use or end user of the export.
In its promotion of academic inquiry and the dissemination of ideas, its performance of basic and applied research and its execution of business transactions, the university and its personnel will comply with all U.S. export control laws and regulations. The university seeks to balance its commitment to the principle of openness in research and education with its obligations under these laws and regulations.
Although the vast majority of activities at the university are not subject to export control restrictions or licensing requirements, each member of the university community should be familiar with the export control and embargo restrictions and their responsibilities under university policies and procedures with respect to such restrictions. This website is intended to provide guidance to the university community concerning the application of export controls to university activities and to identify individuals with formal administrative responsibility for compliance with export controls at the university.
If you receive export-controlled material (including information) and the receipt of the material has not been approved by the university, immediately contact the Export Control Analyst and secure the material in a way that prevents disclosure of or access to the material by anyone else.
If you receive export-control material, with prior approval by the university, the material should be handled according to the physical and information security measures included in the approved technology control plan established by the university for your activity. Any questions about the implementation of your technology control plan should be addressed to the Export Control Analyst.
Export control laws are implemented primarily by the regulations of and overseen by:
- U.S. Department of State (state.gov/)
- International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) - 22 C.F.R. §§120-130
- Governs "defense articles and services" and related information (items and information specifically designed or adapted for military use).
- Export Administration Regulations (EAR) - 15, C.F.R. §§ 730-774
- Governs “dual use” items and information, which are predominately civilian in character but have military applications.
- Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Regulations - 31 C.F.R.§500
- Administers and enforces trade embargoes and economic sanctions.
Export regulations apply regardless of whether the recipient of the information, technology or materials is unfunded or is funded by a grant, contract or other agreement; they also apply whether or not the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) are cited in related award documents. If a researcher accepts export-controlled technology or information from a government agency, industry or elsewhere, the researcher is subject to ITAR or EAR regulations. If a university researcher is unsure whether s/he may be receiving or generating export-controlled information, the researcher should contact the Export Control Analyst, Office for Sponsored Programs, for assistance. Export regulations may also apply, in the university context, to international shipping, international travel, or university business transactions.
- Any oral, written, electronic or visual disclosure, shipment, transfer or transmission outside of the United States to anyone, including a U.S. citizen, of any commodity, technology (information, technical data or assistance) or software/codes.
- Such exports include transfers of such items or information to foreign embassies, overseas corporate affiliates and contractors.
- Any oral, written, electronic or visual disclosure, transfer or transmission to any person or entity of a controlled commodity, technology or software/codes to a non-U.S. entity or individual, wherever located (even to a foreign student or colleague at the university)
A foreign national is an individual who is not a United States citizen, a permanent resident alien of the United States, a lawfully-admitted temporary resident alien or refugee or other protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). For purposes of export controls, individuals on a student visa or H1 visa (including foreign visiting faculty) are considered foreign nationals.
The equipment and technologies that may be covered by the regulations are extensive, from software, computers, cameras, centrifuges, autoclaves, accelerators, radiation detectors, etc. to a wide range of chemicals, biological agents and toxins. Each item has detailed specifications (e.g., not all cameras are subject to export controls) and, importantly, only technologies that are not publicly available are subject to the controls, although special rules apply to even publicly available encryption software. Each type of item is classified in the export control regulations according to those countries to which it cannot be exported. For example, some items cannot be exported at all without a license; others may be shipped only to Canada without a license; while still other items can be exported to all but a few countries.
- Publication of research results would be severely restricted or controlled, contrary to university policy.
- Secure facilities with restricted access may be required.
- Special rules for controlled toxins, bio-agents and chemicals may be invoked.
- An export license may be required by Commerce or State if information, technology or an item or service is controlled. Obtaining an export license may be costly and result in considerable delays. Further, such licenses are limited in scope, with release permitted to only one individual or entity.
Most university research activities are excluded from export controls because of a general exclusion from regulation for fundamental research. Both the EAR and the ITAR provide that no licenses are required to disclose technical information if the information is in the public domain. Information is in the public domain if it is published and generally accessible to the public through unlimited and unrestricted distribution or through "fundamental research in science and engineering at accredited institutions of higher learning in the U.S. where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly in the scientific community." This fundamental research exclusion applies to basic and applied research in science as long as the research is carried out openly and without restrictions on publication or access to or dissemination of the research results (EAR, 15 C.F.R. §734.8; ITAR, 22 C.F.R.§ 120.11(8)). By not accepting restrictions on publication or foreign nationals, the university protects the fundamental research exclusion.
While exports to all countries are controlled in various ways, there are very strict prohibitions on shipments and interactions with these six countries currently under embargo:
- North Korea
It is important that faculty and other researchers understand their obligations under the regulations and follow them. The consequences of violating the regulations can be severe, and include loss of research funding, fines and/or prison time. The university will assist investigators in complying with export control laws, but the primary responsibility rests with the researcher. For more information on penalties for export control violations, please see Violations.