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Export Controls

Overview

Export controls have become especially significant in recent years, and numerous federal laws have been adopted addressing them. Export controls regulate materials, technologies, and ideas that are shipped from the U.S. or taken to other countries by American travelers or imparted to foreign nationals working here in the U.S.

These controls are intended to protect the U.S. economy and trade and advance foreign policy goals, but also to keep technologies and ideas that could be used to harm the U.S. and its citizens from being obtained by terrorists or 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 designed for commercial use but with potential for military applications.

ITAR covers munitions, broadly defined. Also of potential concern are regulations from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control that concern the international transfer of money.

Procedures for UCM Personnel:

UCM faculty and staff must take the following steps to assure that they do not violate the export regulations and become personally liable for substantial civil and criminal penalties.

SHIPMENTS :

  1. Prior to shipment of any commodity out of the U.S., determine if the commodity requires an export license and assist in securing such license when required. There are two main 'lists' of controlled items: Export Regulations (EAR) and International Traffic in Arms (ITAR). You have to check both lists: the EAR Commerce Control List and the ITAR U.S. Munitions List.
  2. Secure license approval or verify license exception prior to shipment for all controlled items. Contact Deborah Motton dmotton@ucmerced.edu for guidance on the responsible office on your campus for verifying license exceptions and submission of license applications.

PUBLICATIONS AND PERSONNEL RESTRICTIONS:

  1. Assure that all technical data about export-controlled commodities qualify as “publicly available” under the above-described criteria (e.g., publish early and often).
  2. Do not accept publication controls or access/dissemination restrictions (such as approval requirements for use of foreign nationals), enter into ‘secrecy agreements’, or otherwise agree to withhold results in research projects conducted at the University or that involve University facilities, students, or staff.
  3. Do not accept proprietary information from another that is marked “Export Controlled.” Return to the manufacturer any materials they provide to you about export-controlled equipment that is marked “Confidential”. Review any Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreements to insure that UC and you are not assuming the burden of restricting dissemination based on citizenship status or securing licenses.
  4. Do not provide citizenship, nationality, or visa status information for project staff to others or include such information in proposals. It is a violation of the INS regulations, of the federal Privacy Act, and the California Information Practices Act to do so. It is also contrary to university policy to discriminate on this basis or to select research project staff on any basis other than merit.
  5. Do not agree to background checks or other arrangements where the external sponsor screens, clears, or otherwise approves project staff. University policy allows for background screening conducted by the University when appropriate to the position.
  6. Do not attend meetings where foreign nationals are prohibited from attending. Do not sign the DD2345, Militarily Critical Technical Data Agreement, as a condition of attending a conference or receiving materials from the government.
  7. Do not travel to conduct research or educational activities to the embargoed countries of Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan or Syria without first checking with Deborah Motton, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research to ascertain whether a license from the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, is required.
  8. Contact Contracts and Grants Office (Autumn Tjalsma-Salazar atjalsma@ucmerced.edu) if you encounter problems in any of the above areas for assistance in resolving the matter so that the research may proceed in a manner that avoids violation of the export regulations.

It is important to take these steps to preserve the “publicly available” and “public domain” exemptions provided by the government, including that afforded to fundamental research. Without exemptions, the EAR or ITAR licensing requirements may apply to information (technology or technical data) concerning controlled commodities or items.

Unless a license exemption applies, a “deemed export” license would then be required before information is conveyed (even visually thorough observation) to foreign students, researchers, staff, or visitors on campus, and an actual export license would be required before information is conveyed abroad to anyone.

The university’s mission of education and research and the international nature of science and academic discourse require that we maintain an open academic environment without regard to citizenship or visa status. The export regulations provide appropriate “safe harbors” for fundamental research to protect the university. By following the above guidance, we can assure that the faculty, students, and staff of the university do not compromise our academic standards and do not violate the export regulations.

If you plan to ship an item internationally or if you have questions about how a project you are working on will be affected by export controls please consult the EAR and the ITAR to determine if it is a controlled item and requires a license for shipment, or contact Research Compliance and Integrity Director Deborah Motton at dmotton@ucmerced.edu or 209-383-8655, for assistance before shipment.

For a more detailed description of the export control regulations, please consult the Guide to Export Control Regulations .