Export Controls

Laws and Governing Agencies

Resources for Researchers

Governing Agencies

The agencies with export control responsibilities are:

  • The Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, regulates the exports of items and information of items of dual use (commercial and military applications) and CCL 600 Series (items originally designed for military applications).
  • The Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, regulates the exports of items that have been designed formmilitary application or space technology.
  • The Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, enforces country-specific embargoes.
  • The other seven U.S. government departments or agencies with export control jurisdiction are: Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of Energy, Defense Technology Security Administration, Drug Enforcement Administration, Food and Drug Administration, Patent and Trademark Office, and Environmental Protection Agency. In certain circumstances, these agencies may require the University to obtain a license before the item or information is exported to another country or shared with a foreign national.

Export Control Regulations

There are three primary sets of Federal regulations currently governing export controls. These are the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and Office of Foreign Asset Control regulations (OFAC).

  • The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) is a set of regulations administered by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). These regulations control "dual use" items and technology related to these items that often have both civilian and military uses, such as computers, toxins, and chemicals. A listing of the items controlled by EAR is called the Commerce Control List (CCL). The CCL includes essentially all civilian science, technology, and engineering dual use items, which have commercial and military applications. Although most products and technology will not require a license (“EAR99 products and technology”), the exporter (faculty, researcher, staff or student) at the UPRM is responsible for verifying whether this license is required or not. In the case of the University, there are exclusions or exemption, such as technology exempted under the fundamental research exemption (see section on Licensing Exceptions).  If the “dual use” item or technology involves a sanctioned or embargoed country under OFAC, or an individual or organization in one of the denied parties’ lists, a license generally will be denied by the government.
  • The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of regulations administered through the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). These regulations are designated for munitions and defense articles and services, as well as for certain space-related items. Military and other items controlled by DDTC are listed in the U.S. Munitions List (USML). Any service, article, or technical data specifically designed, developed, configured, adapted, or modified for a military or intelligence application or for use in space is generally subject to ITAR. None of the items on the USML are dual use items.  As in the case of the EAR, ITAR has some license exclusions and exemptions for universities. Some military and space research at the UPRM may only require a Technology Assistance Agreement rather than an export license.  Part 120 of the ITAR defines a Technology Assistant Agreement as “an agreement (e.g., contract) for the performance of a defense service(s) or the disclosure of technical data, as opposed to an agreement granting a right or license to manufacture defense articles. Assembly of defense articles is included under this section, provided production rights or manufacturing knowhow are not conveyed.”Researchers and research administrators in defense services and articles, including space research will need to contact the UPRM Research and Development Center for assistance in a case-by-case situation. As in the case of the EAR, if the defense item involves a sanctioned or embargoed country under OFAC, or an individual or organization in one of the denied parties’ lists, a license generally will be denied by the government.
  • The Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) within the Department of the Treasury is responsible for the oversight of regulations pertaining to embargoed and sanctioned countries and to individual persons and entities who are from these countries or who have violated other laws. OFAC focuses economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and other national security goals. OFAC maintains a list of U.S. sanction or embargoes countries, as well as a list called "Specially Designated Nationals" that include terrorist individuals and organizations.  

Exclusions and exceptions available under the other export control regulations (ITAR and EAR) do not necessarily apply to OFAC designated entities. In addition to the lists for embargoed countries and Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) maintained by OFAC, a number of other Federal agencies, including the BIS also maintain lists of sanctioned or wanted individuals and entities. U.S. nationals (see definition section) are expected to consult these lists when conducting business with foreign nationals abroad or within the U.S.


If you have any questions regarding export controls, contact Dr. María Amador-Dumois, Interim Export Control Officer, Research and Development Center, at extension 5344 and via e-mail at exportcontrols@uprm.edu.