By Don Buehler

The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently released a new guide to help U.S. companies comply with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  This 145-page document, which is available for free here, contains a number of helpful insights, sample tools and recommendations for “How to Develop an Effective Export Management and Compliance Program.”

BIS tackles the subject of compliance by breaking it into nine key elements for every company to consider, including:

  • Why the program is in place?
  • Who the program applies to?
  • What should our company do to comply?
  • When and how should this be done?
  • Who will do it?
It’s interesting to see the importance BIS places on a thorough, documented approach to compliance.  They advise companies in all industries to adopt an Export Management and Compliance Program (EMCP).  BIS says:
“The major benefit of implementing an effective EMCP is that it can minimize the risk of noncompliance with export regulations and can be considered a mitigating factor, with great weight, in determining administrative penalties in case of an export violation.”

(Of course, that mitigating factor can only be applied if your company already has a documented compliance manual and an implemented EMCP.  So, although it’s never too late to “get religion” with export control, it won’t reduce your potential fine unless you’ve already documented and implemented your program!)

That’s one of the topics we stress with all of our clients.  The new BIS guidelines do a good job of outlining a basic approach to EAR compliance.  Among other things, they cover:

  • Good ideas for developing management commitment and writing your policy statement
  • A logical, step-by-step approach to analyzing your risk of EAR violations
  • In-depth advice on screening the various government watch lists for compliance
  • A free review of your draft EMCP

One important note:  the BIS document is great for assisting companies with EAR compliance.  However, it does not provide specific guidance or policies for the ITAR.  Your company may need to create separate policies and procedures solely for ITAR compliance.  Remember – The two regulations are different, and so are the agencies who administer them!

Simply put, you cannot afford to address one regulation and ignore the other.  On that note, DDTC also provides some guidelines on its website for ITAR compliance.

It’s a good idea to look at both documents, then give us a call if you need any help.

Don Buehler is founder and president of Export Solutions, Inc., a consultancy firm which specializes in helping companies comply with ITAR and EAR.