What is an Export

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Generally speaking, under U.S. law, an export is defined to be:

  • Any shipment, transfer, or transmission out of the United States, by any means (including hand-carrying), of any:
    • Commodity (equipment, hardware, or materiel)
    • Technology (technical data, information, or assistance)
    • Software (commercial as well as custom)
       
  • Any transfer to any person or entity of a commodity, technology, or software by physical, electronic, oral, or visual means with the knowledge or intent that the item(s) will be shipped, transferred, or transmitted to a non-U.S. entity or individual.
     
  • Any disclosure of technical data or information to a foreign entity or individual, by any means, inside or outside of the United States. This includes interactions with foreign persons visiting or on foreign travel.
     
  • Any transfer of a commodity, technology, or software, by any means, to a foreign embassy or affiliate.
Important Concept: "Deemed Export"

Any transfer to a citizen or representative of a foreign country, regardless of where the transfer occurs, is deemed by the U.S. government to be an export to that country -- unless the person is a permanent resident of the U.S.; that is, holds a so-called "green card."

The SUPERVISED use of an export controlled computer by a foreign national does not in itself constitute a "deemed export." The key is to ensure that the work is SUPERVISED. As long as a foreign national does not have access to the OPERATING SYSTEM, SOURCE CODES, OR INTERNAL HARDWARE, there is no export control concern.

It is also important to know that exporting is not limited to simply transferring a document or piece of equipment to a foreign national. The range of activities that potentially could pose export-control concerns is quite broad. Examples include:

  • Direct exports; Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs); contracts; and donations, sales, or transfers of surplus equipment.
     
  • International and domestic collaborations and technical exchange programs, including lab-to-lab programs.
     
  • Publications, such as reports, conference papers, abstracts, and journal articles.
     
  • Written materials in general, from memos and letters to trip reports and work notes.
     
  • Presentations at conferences and other public meetings, both domestic and foreign.
     
  • Visits and assignments by foreign nationals.
     
  • Foreign travel by employees.
     
  • Conversations with foreign nationals anywhere.
     
  • Specifications included in proposals or requests for quotations.
     
  • Other types of communication - such as telephone calls, faxes, e-mails, mailings, or the placement of material on the World Wide Web.

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Last modified: March 11, 2006