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November 02, 2007 

BIS Update 2007, Day 2, Breakout Session: International Practices in Export Controls

By Amy Stanley*

At the International Practices in Export Controls breakout session, three foreign government representatives discussed their countries’ export systems and policies. The three representatives discussed similarities and differences between the export systems of the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada.

First, Spencer Chivers, of the U.K. Government's Department of Trade & Industry's Export Control Organisation, discussed the U.K’s. export licensing system and export regulations. Mr. Chivers noted that U.K.’s control lists were defined by many of the same agreements that the U.S. is party to including the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The U.K. export system is also guided by international bodies such as U.N. Security Council measures and the U.N. Register of Conventional Arms. He noted a difference between the U.K. and the U.S. is that the U.K. follows the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. All licensing decisions in the U.K. must be taken against this Code, however the Code only covers military and dual-use goods.

The primary law in the U.K. that governs exports is the Export Control Act of 2002. This law gives certain powers to the Department of Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR). This Act has been expanded by several Orders including the Export of Goods, Transfer of Technology and Provision of Technical Assistance (Control) of 2003 (“the Main Order”). The Main Order controls the export of strategic goods, the transfer of technology and technical assistance. The Main Order establishes license registration and record keeping requirements and provides appeal rights for denied licenses, among other things. Mr. Chivers also discussed EC Regulation 1334/2000 which establishes an EU regime for the control of dual-use exports and technology.

The U.K.'s BERR controls exports for both military and dual-use goods. That agency is in charge of receiving and processing all license applications. Mr. Chivers explained that there are several license types within the U.K. system including a Standard Individual Export License (SIEL), Open Individual Export License (OIEL) and Open General Export License (OGEL). The method to apply for a license is similar to the U.S. system of SNAP-R and is referred to by as SPIRE. Effective September 3, 2007, all U.K. export licenses must be submitted electronically. Mr. Chivers noted that SPIRE is configured to use algorithms to filter license applications and flag applications depending on what is being exported, the destination, value and other factors.

Mr. Spire concluded his remarks noting that like the U.S., the U.K. has an interagency process in making export determinations. These agencies include the Ministry of Defense, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department of International Development, among others.

Second to address the audience was Satoshi Miura, from the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC. Mr. Miura discussed the legal framework from which Japan’s export laws and regulations are drafted. He noted that Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) was the primary agency to govern Japan’s exports on dual-use items and arms. Mr. Miura stated, however, that Japan does not allow export of arms, with few exceptions.

Mr. Miura discussed Japan's Center for Information on Security Trade Control (CISTEC), which is a coordinating group among industry, government and academia on security export controls in Japan. Among other things, CISTEC provides advice related to security export controls and can determine if items are regulated by export laws. CISTEC can also assist with export planning, negotiation, contract and license applications, if required.

The final speaker was Lynne C. Sabatino, Deputy Director of the Export Controls Division of Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Ms. Sabatino noted that Canada and the U.S. have similar legal and regulatory frameworks, licensing procedures, enforcement and prosecution capabilities..

Export controls in Canada are administered by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (FAITC) under the Export and Import Permits Act. Notable provisions within this Act include: 1) Area Control List, which is a list of countries (currently Burma and Belarus) that Canada deems it necessary to control the export of any goods and any export to these two countries requires a license; and 2) Export Control List, which are goods controlled for enumerated purposes (e.g. of U.S. origin, on Canada’s export control list, etc.).

Ms. Sabatino pointed out that a general export permit is needed for all U.S. goods being reexported from Canada, except when being exported to Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Iran and Sudan, although such a permit would not likely be granted.

Ms. Sabatino closed her remarks by discussing a major difference in Canada’s Controlled Goods Program, a security related initiative. The Controlled Goods Program regulates the examination, possession and transfer of controlled goods in Canada and any company that is in possession of these goods must be registered. In addition, a U.S. company would not be able to transfer any goods to a Canadian company, unless that Canadian company was registered.

In answering questions, Mr. Chivers stated that within the EU, a license is required from where the exporter is based, not where the goods may be physically located. For example if goods are to be exported from France, but a forwarder is located in the U.K., a U.K. license would be needed in order to export.

Ms. Sabatino answered a question related to Cuba stating that if a good is not on Canada’s controlled list, and is not made in the U.S., only then would it be possible to export to Cuba.

Mr. Miura stated in the question and answer session that there are no current plans to translate the Japanese export regulations to English, but that the Japanese version is available online.

*Ms. Stanley is a recent law school graduate with an interest in export controls and international trade issues. Ms. Stanley can be reached at




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