Earlier this month, we wrote about a new proposed rule from the Department of Energy imposing new and onerous requirements relating to compliance with the U.S. export control laws. DOE claimed that this proposed rule was modeled on a prior rule included in the Department of Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) at DFARS Subpart 204.73 and DFARS 252.204-7008, promulgated originally in 2008 (and discussed here). But be aware that those DFARS rules were recently removed. Kind of. In case you were not paying attention, the DFARS export restrictions were recently moved to DFARS Subpart 225.79 and DFARS 252.225-7048. See 78 Fed. Reg. 36108. So, even though the citations may have changed, the song remains the same.
On September 8, 2008, we posted a commentary on a newly promulgated interim rule relating to “Export-Controlled Items,” that was finalized in 2010 and is now set forth at DFARS Subpart 204.73 and implemented in principal part by the clause set forth at 52.204-7008. Click here. That rule was relatively straightforward, basically reminding DOD contractors (1) that they were obligated to “comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding export-controlled items” and (2) that those compliance obligations existed independent of the new DFARS rule and its implementing clause. In reality, while the clause had the capacity to transform an export violation into a breach of contract, with all of the attendant liabilities and risks that attend such breaches, it imposed no new substantive obligations on DOD contractors.
2011 was a banner year for U.S. export control laws. The Obama administration has vowed to streamline and reform the bloated U.S. export control system – promising to build "higher walls" around a narrower universe of goods and technologies requiring export licenses. Following is a summary of ten of the key reforms to U.S. export laws that took place (or were proposed) in 2011.
Under a recent court decision, UK government agencies may be able to shield the names of British companies transacting in Iran, and thereby aid these companies in averting potential consequences of U.S. law.
In late September, Flowserve Corporation (“Flowserve”) and a number of its subsidiaries agreed to settle alleged export violations with the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry of Security (“BIS”) for $2.5 million, and to remit $502,408 to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) to settle alleged U.S. sanctions violations. Flowserve, including its subsidiaries, is an oil, gas, and chemical services company with operations around the world. The settlement underscores the value of compliance measures specifically tailored to a company’s operations, and provides yet another example of the U.S. government vigorously enforcing U.S. law overseas.
On Monday, October 3, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of retired University of Tennessee professor John Reece Roth. In July 2009, Roth received a four year prison sentence for illegally exporting military technology, in large part due to his work with graduate students from Iran and China. Professor Roth’s conviction and prison sentence forcefully remind the research community, commercial as well as academic, of the potentially severe consequences that may arise from ignoring technology export controls.
Beginning on February 20, 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”) assumed a role in the U.S. Government’s increasing regulation of technology exports. The new role for CIS relates to the transfer of controlled technology or source code, sometimes referred to as “deemed exports," to non-U.S. nationals.
On May 16, 2011, the Department of State (“Department”) published its final rule in the Federal Register amending provisions of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) regarding the transfer of ITAR controlled defense articles (including technical data) to dual and third-country nationals employed by approved foreign end-users. See 76 Fed. Reg. 28174-78 (amending 22 C.F.R. pts. 120, 124 and 126).
On April 13, 2011, the Department of State (the “Department”) issued proposed amendments to various sections of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) regarding the definition of “defense service.” See International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Defense Services, 76 Fed. Reg. 20590-93 (amending 22 C.F.R. Parts 120 and 124).
On March 15, 2011, the State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls published a proposed new rule that marks a significant change in the approach to ITAR regulation. Historically, ITAR controls have always applied to commercial end products incorporating any ITAR controlled components. This was the basis of the highly publicized QRS chip case, in which the State Department asserted continuing ITAR control over avionics chips that had originated on a military program but had come to be widely used in civilian jet aircraft. That case resulted eventually in a special exception to allow jet aircraft to remain in production and passenger service with the QRS chip and without ITAR licensing.
On February 25, 2011, the President issued an Executive Order blocking not only the assets of Muammar Qadhafi, Ayesha Qadhafi, Khamis Qadhafi, Mutassim Qadhafi, and Saif Al Islam Al Qadhafi, but also blocking all assets of the Government of Libya, as follows:
“All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the Government of Libya, its agencies, instrumentalities, and controlled entities, and the Central Bank of Libya, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.”