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Export Licensing Basics

Posted by attorney David Murray

Export Licenses An export license grants permission to conduct a certain type of export transaction. It is issued by the appropriate licensing agency after a careful review of the facts surrounding the given export transaction. Most export transactions do not require specific approval in the form of licenses from the U.S. Government. In fact, a relatively small percentage of all U.S. export transactions require licenses from the U.S. government. It is up to the exporter to determine whether the product requires a license and to research the end use of the product, in other words, to perform "due diligence" regarding the transaction. Exporters should learn which federal department or agency has jurisdiction over the item they are planning to export in order to find out if a license is required. Department of Commerce Dual Use Licenses are required in certain situations involving national security, foreign policy, short-supply, nuclear non-proliferation, missile technology, chemical and biological weapons, regional stability, crime control, or terrorist concerns. Department of State Export of defense articles Directorate of Defense Trade Controls at the U.S. Department of State. Generally, any person or company who intends to export a defense article must obtain the approval of DDTC prior to the export. In the case of defense export transactions (defense articles such as munitions), any person or company who intends to export such an article must first obtain approval from the U.S. Department of State Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) prior to the export. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Licensing of the export of nuclear materials and equipment is the responsibility of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Department of Energy The Office of Imports and Exports, under the Office of Fossil Energy, in the Department of Energy, regulates the export of natural gas and electric power. The Department of Energy's Office of Export Control Policy and Cooperation authorizes the use of nuclear technology and technical data for nuclear power, as well as special nuclear materials. Electricity Imports/Exports and the International Electricity Regulation is the responsibility of the Department of Energy's, Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability. Drug Enforcement Administration The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration regulates the export of controlled substances and precursor chemicals. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Office of International Programs provides exporters with an interpretation and understanding of the implementation of the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), which relates to the safety of food, drugs, and cosmetics. Department of Agriculture The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) at USDA guides exporters in exporting meat, poultry, and egg products, including packaging, labeling and other special conditions. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides exporters with an understanding of the transportation options, cost factors, and technical considerations associated with export transportation of high-valued and value-added agricultural products. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) serves to facilitate safe trade, monitor the movement of risk material, protect against the introduction of pests, regulate the import and export of plants, and help exporters meet the entry requirements of other countries. For additional guidance on export licensing or about exporting in general, please call the Trade Information Center (TIC) at (800) USA-TRAD(e).

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