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August 18, 2009 

Despite Reports U.S. Export Control Policy on Syria Remains Unchanged

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently posted an updated version of it guidance and frequently asked questions involving U.S. exports to Syria. The bottom line: Despite many news reports to the contrary, U.S. export controls involving Syria remains unchanged.

As we previously reported several weeks ago, various news reports, including an article in the New York Times, indicated that the U.S. Government was easing or lifting sanctions on Syria. While the Obama Administration has indicated that it will "process all eligible applications for export licenses to Syria as quickly as possible," the current export licensing requirements to Syria remain unchanged.

Here is the summary of the current restrictions on Syria that was recently posted by BIS:

BIS requires a license for the export or reexport to Syria of all items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), except food and medicines not on the Commerce Control List (CCL). Pursuant to the waiver authority exercised by the President in Executive Order 13338, BIS may consider several categories of items on a case-by-case basis including medicines on the CCL and medical devices; parts and components intended to ensure the safety of civil aviation and the safe operation of commercial passenger aircraft; and telecommunications equipment and associated computers, technology, and software. License applications for other exports and reexports to Syria are subject to a general policy of denial.
In our experience, BIS and the other U.S. government reviewing agencies involved in the export licensing process have consistently approved licenses to export controlled medicines and medical devices to Syria on a regular basis and in a fairly timely manner (much faster than OFAC's processing of TSRA licenses for Iran and Sudan). The only question is whether the U.S. will begin issuing licenses for the export of aircraft components, telecommunication products and other types of eligible products faster than it has in the past.

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