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The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is a U.S. government entity responsible for implementing and enforcing the Code of Federal Regulations Title 15, (“Commerce and Foreign Trade”), Volume 2, chapter VII, subchapter C, Parts 730-774 (denoted 15 C.F.R. § 730-774) (also known as the Export Administration Regulations (EAR)). The BIS regulates the export and reexport of most commercial items. Supplement Number 1 to §774 of the EAR is the Commerce Control List (CCL), which describes restricted commodities, software, and technology.

Depending on the category[1] the "item" falls under, the company may need to obtain a license prior to export. EAR restrictions can vary from country to country. The most restricted destinations are the embargoed countries and those countries designated as supporting terrorist activities, including Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and Iran. Some products are subject to worldwide restrictions prohibiting exports.

An item is considered an export whether or not it is leaving the United States temporarily, if it is leaving the United State but is not for sale (a gift), or if it is going to a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary in a foreign country. A foreign-origin item exported from the United States, transmitted or transhipped through the United States, or being returned from the United States to its foreign country of origin is considered an export.[2]

The EAR do not control all goods, services, and technologies. Other U.S. government agencies regulate more specialized exports. For example, the U.S. Department of State has authority over defense articles and defense services. A list of other agencies involved in export controls can be found in Supplement No. 3 to Part 730 of the EAR.


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