Export Control Basics
Export controls have been a part of US law since the early 19th century, used to control international commerce and safeguard national security. Every company involved in the invention, production and manufacture of goods that will be sold outside the United States must be aware of and comply with these controls. However, partly due to the challenges the US faced during the Cold War and most recently with the increased threats of terrorism, export controls have evolved over the past several decades into a sophisticated set of regulatory tools with broad applications that can easily encompass the technology, equipment being used, and the science being studied, in academic research projects. Research institutions have the same obligations as any other entity to comply with export control laws. That said, academic research normally is conducted openly, i.e., where publication of the research is expected, and most research activities are not subject to export control regulations under the Fundamental Research Exclusion .
However, there are certain conditions under which the export of equipment or technology developed in the course of research, which includes certain technical and scientific data, either is prohibited under the export control laws and regulations or may requires a license for the transfer of the equipment, technology or technical information or data to be transferred outside the United States. In particular, certain equipment (sometimes called Controlled Items) or technologies (sometimes called Covered Technologies) require an export license unless they meet the test that the research is in the public domain or is otherwise covered by the Fundamental Research Exclusion.
Export control issues are of particular concern in a research institution where the likelihood of foreign researchers may raise a concern of Deemed Exports .
The primary federal agencies responsible for the management and control of exports are lsited below with links to their websites that explain their focus and jurisdiction:
Department of Commerce - Export Control Basics
Department of State - International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Regulations
Department of Treasury - Office of Foreign Assets Control
Department of Justice - Foreign Corrupt Practices Act