Export Control

Academic Short Briefing on Export Controls

Taking Your Lap Top Abroad

Basic Information
Export controls have become especially significant in recent years, and numerous federal laws have been adopted addressing this issue. Export controls regulate materials, technologies and ideas that are shipped from the U. S. or taken to other countries by American travelers or that are imparted to foreign nationals working here in the U.S. These controls are intended to protect the U.S. economy and trade, and to advance foreign policy goals, but also to keep technologies and ideas that could be used to harm the U.S. and its citizens from falling into the hands of terrorists and other hostile parties. Export controls are particularly significant to research institutions because our work depends so much on the open exchange of ideas with people from other countries.
Regulations from the Departments of Commerce (DOC), State, and the Treasury control exports of information, technologies, and items to foreign nations. The two of greatest concern for research institutions are the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) . EAR is concerned with dual-use items, such as computers or pathogens, that are designed for commercial use but have the potential for military application. ITAR covers munitions, broadly defined. Also of potential concern are regulations from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) that concern the transfer of money internationally.
Fundamental Research Exclusion  
To enable universities to freely engage in research and to allow foreign researchers to participate in basic research without requiring a license, the federal government has identified the "fundamental research exclusion." The Fundamental Research Exclusion applies to all research information that could be publicly disseminated: research that is not classified. If the institution or researcher has accepted restrictions on publication of the results, other than ordinary prepublication review, the research is no longer considered fundamental and may require a license for export. It is the policy of the University of California to not accept any restrictions on publication or access to the research. The Fundamental Research Exclusion does not apply to items or materials intended for shipment or transfer internationally. This includes chemical and biological items and materials.
Travel Abroad
Export controls also apply when researchers travel abroad. Although public domain information may be taken abroad, controlled items may not be. A researcher may take a laptop to a foreign country, but may not surrender it to a foreign national, even temporarily. Cell phones with Global Positioning Systems qualify under the same terms. You may incur significant risk as a researcher if you choose to travel to embargoed or sanctioned nations without first obtaining a license. Please contact the Office of Research before traveling internationally or check the list of currently embargoed/sanctioned countries to determine if you will need a license.
Monetary Transactions
Financial transactions with embargoed/sanction nations or denied persons or entities are also subject to export controls. If you require monetary transactions with foreign countries, entities or persons, please contact the Office of Research to determine if you will require a license.
If you plan to ship an item internationally please consult the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to determine if it is a controlled item and requires a license for shipment, or contact Deborah Motton, Director, Research Compliance, dmotton@ucmerced.edu , 209-383-8655, for assistance prior to shipment.
For a more detailed description of the export control regulations, please take the time to consult the Guide to Export Control Regulations .
If you have questions about how a project you are working on will be affected by export controls, please contact Deborah Motton in the Office of Research, dmotton@ucmerced.edu , 209-383-8655.
Useful Links:
Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/
List of embargoed and sanctioned countries http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/programs/
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
Commerce Control List Overview http://www.access.gpo.gov/bis/ear/pdf/738.pdf
Commerce Control List Overview (Alphabetical Index) http://www.access.gpo.gov/bis/ear/pdf/indexccl.pdf
International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) http://pmddtc.state.gov/itar_index.htm
Export Administration Regulations
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