Key Export Control Terms


Export means an actual shipment or transmission of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) out of the United States, or release of technology or software subject to the EAR to a foreign national in the United States.  Release of export-controlled technology and source code can also occur through transmission via e-mails, faxes, designs, and verbal correspondence. 

Under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), export means not only sending or taking a defense article out of the United States in any manner, but also disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or transferring technical data to a foreign person, whether in the United States or abroad.  An export also means performing a defense service on behalf of, or for the benefit of, a foreign person, whether in the United States or abroad.

Deemed Export

In addition to actual shipment of a commodity out of the country, the export regulations also control the transfer, release or disclosure to foreign persons in the United States of technical data about controlled commodities. The "deemed export" regulation states that a transfer of source code or "technology" (EAR term) or "technical data" (ITAR term) to the foreign person is "deemed" to be an export to the home country of the foreign person. This deemed export rule does not apply to persons lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States and does not apply to persons who are protected individuals under the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

Accordingly, for all controlled commodities, a license or license exception is required prior to the transfer of "technology" or "technical data" about the controlled commodity to foreign persons inside the United States.

Foreign National and Foreign Entity

The term "foreign national" refers to everyone other than a United States citizen, a permanent resident alien, and certain "protected individuals" (refugees and those with asylum); it includes any company not incorporated in the United States.

Technology or Technical Data

These phrases refer to technical information beyond general and basic marketing materials about a controlled commodity. They do not refer to the controlled equipment/commodity itself, or to the type of information contained in publicly available user manuals. Rather, the terms "technology" and "technical data" mean specific information necessary for the development, production, or use of a commodity, and usually takes the form of blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables, engineering specifications, and documentation. The "deemed export" rules apply to the transfer of such technical information to foreign nationals inside the United States.

Defense Service

The ITAR defines defense service as (1) the furnishing of assistance (including training) to foreign persons, whether in the United States or abroad in the design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation, demilitarization, destruction, processing or use of defense articles; (2) the furnishing to foreign persons of any controlled technical data; and (3) military training of foreign units and forces.  A Technical Assistance Agreement would need to be put in place before transfer of ITAR controlled technical data to a foreign person.

Technology Control Plan

A Technology Control Plan (TCP) is simply a plan that outlines the procedures to secure controlled technology (e.g., technical information, data, materials, software, or hardware) from use and observation by unlicensed non-United States citizens.

"Use" Technologies

The routine "use" of controlled equipment by foreign nationals (e.g., using it in the ordinary way specified in the user manual), in such a manner that does not disclose technical information about the equipment beyond what is publicly available, does not require a license. However, a license may be required if a foreign national is "using" the equipment in such a way as to access technical information beyond what is publicly available (for example, accessing the source code of software or modifying a piece of equipment in such a way as to gain non-publicly available technical information about its design).

"Published" Information

  1. Information is "published" (and therefore not subject to export controls) when it becomes generally accessible to the interested public in any form, including:
  2. publication in periodicals, books, print, electronic, or other media available for general distribution (including websites that provide free uncontrolled access) or to a community of persons interested in the subject matter, such as those in a scientific or engineering discipline, either free or at a price that does not exceed the cost of reproduction and distribution;
  3. readily available at libraries open to the public or at university libraries;
  4. patents and published patent applications available at any patent office; and
  5.  release at an open conference, meeting, seminar, trade show, or other open gathering held in the United States (ITAR) or anywhere (EAR).

 Note, a conference or gathering is "open" if all technically qualified members of the public are eligible to attend and attendees are permitted to take notes or otherwise make a personal record of the proceedings and presentations. A conference is considered open notwithstanding a registration fee reasonably related to cost, and there may be a limit on actual attendance as long as the selection is either "first come" or selection based on relevant scientific or technical competence.

Note:  The material is adapted from content found on the University of Texas at Austin's Export Control Regulations & Resources Page.   

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