March 6, 2020
EXPORT AND COMPLIANCE NEWS
Today the U.S. District Court at the Western District of Washington (Seattle) issued a partial injunction to prevent
portions of the new export rules governing firearms and ammunition from taking effect on Monday. Specifically, the preliminary injunction prohibits the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce from implementing or enforcing any portions of the new export rules that have any effect on technical data or software directly related to the production of firearms or firearm parts using a 3D-printer or similar equipment. Consequently, such technology or software will remain on the United States Munitions List (USML) and subject to the International Traffic and Arms Regulations (ITAR).
The court handed down its ruling late in the afternoon Pacific Time, so the Departments have not yet issued notices on this injunction. The preliminary injunction will remain in place pending trial or further action of the Court.
All other portions of the Final Rules will become effective March 9, 2020
. This means that most commercially available firearms and ammunition, and technology directly related thereto, will move from the export controls of the ITAR and over to the Department of Commerce's Export Administration Regulations (EAR) on Monday, March 9, 2020. While existing ITAR authorizations remain valid for a time, all new transactions must be conducted under the new export control regulations come Monday.
As companies begin to implement the transition, and work through the reclassification of their goods and services, there are bound to be instances where past compliance issues are identified. It is important to remember that the transition of items from the ITAR to the EAR does not absolve past violations, and any disclosures should be filed with the agency having jurisdiction at the time the violation occurred.
There is sure to be a learning curve for industry as it begins to operate under the new export control regime; there was for every other USML category that has gone through the export control reform initiative. To aid in the process, both the Department of State and Department of Commerce have posted to their respective websites guidance for industry, including license transition guidance and helpful decision tree tools. The best place to start is to read the new rules themselves.
"Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised." ~ Denis Waitley.