Exporter Beware!


If you’re exporting goods from the US you must be fully aware of export laws to avoid hefty fines or even time behind bars, cautions Tom Vreeland.

Most people take comfort in maintaining a routine and doing things as they always have. Years ago, one could simply rely on a freight forwarder for guidance on completing export paperwork. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Export control laws have changed significantly as a reaction to world events. Many small to medium sized exporters, however, are not aware of the changes and continue to fill out export paperwork as they have for years. In most cases, this is not a big problem as most exports do not require a classification number with a small percentage actually requiring an export license.

The reasons for export controls include national security, foreign policy regarding crime control, anti-terrorism and regional security, and non- proliferation of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) within the US Department of Commerce is responsible for all exports, except for those under the exclusive jurisdiction of another agency, such as the military, Departments of State, Interior, Treasury or Energy and the NRC. This discussion will be limited to the BIS and its regulations. The transactions controlled include all exports from the USA, re-exports or resale of items outside the USA and even shipments to certain entities within the USA.

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