Export Controls: Glossary of Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z



DOC – Department of Commerce
DOD – Department of Defense
DOE – Department of Energy
DOJ – Department of Justice
DOS – Department of State
DPL – Denied Persons List

Applicant – The person who applies for an export or re-export license, and who has the authority of a principal party in interest to determine and control the export or re-export of items.


Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) – An agency of the Department of Commerce responsible for implementing and enforcing the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which regulate the export and re-export of most commercial items.


Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) — The United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

Commerce Control List (CCL) - A list of items under the export control jurisdiction of the Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce. The CCL is found in Supplement 1 to part 774 of the EAR.

Commerce Control List (CCL) Category - The CCL is divided into ten categories: (0) Nuclear Materials, Facilities and Equipment, and Miscellaneous; (1) Materials, Chemicals, "Microorganisms," and Toxins; (2) Materials Processing; (3) Electronics Design, Development and Production; (4) Computers; (5) Telecommunications; (6) Sensors; (7) Navigation and Avionics; (8) Marine; (9) Propulsion Systems, Space Vehicles, and Related Equipment.

Commerce Control List (CCL) Group - The CCL is divided into 10 categories. Each category is subdivided into five groups, designated by the letters A through E: (A) Equipment, assemblies, and components; (B) Test, inspection and production equipment; (C) Materials; (D) Software; and (E) Technology.

Controlled country - A list of countries designated controlled for national security purposes found in Country Group D:1, including: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cambodia, the People's Republic of China, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Cuba and North Korea are controlled countries, but they are listed in Country Group E:2 (unilateral embargoes) rather than Country Group D:1.

Countries supporting international terrorism – In accordance with §6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979, as amended (EAA), the Secretary of State has determined that the following countries' governments have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.


DDTC – Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. The office in the Department of State (DOS) that administers licenses for defense services and defense (munitions) articles. (Formerly known as the Office of Defense Trade Controls).

Deemed Export - Occurs when technology or software source code is released or transmitted to a Foreign Person within the U.S. including through a discussion with a foreign researcher or student.

Defense Article - (ITAR 120.6) means any item designated in the USML. Examples include specified chemical agents, cameras designated for military purposes, specified lasers, and GPS equipment as noted above. It also means any technical data recorded or stored in any physical form, models, mock-ups, or other items that reveal technical data directly relating to the particular item or "defense article" listed in the USML.

Defense Service - (ITAR 120. 9) means the furnishing of assistance (including training) anywhere (inside the United States or abroad) to foreign nationals in connection with the design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation, demilitarization, destruction, processing, or use of defense articles, and the furnishing of any controlled "technical data" (see definition below) to foreign nationals anywhere.

Denied Persons List (DPL) - A list, referenced in Supplement No. 2 to part 764 of the EAR, of specific persons that have been denied export privileges, in whole or in part. The full text of each order denying export privileges is published in the Federal Register.

Dual-use - Items that have both commercial and military or proliferation applications. While this term is used informally to describe items that are subject to the EAR, purely commercial items are also subject to the EAR (see §734.2(a) of the EAR).


Effective control – According to the EAR, maintaining effective control over an item occurs when you either retain physical possession of the item, or secure the item in such an environment as a hotel safe, a bonded warehouse, or a locked or guarded exhibition facility. Retention of effective control over an item is a condition of certain temporary exports and re-exports.

Empowered Official - a U.S. person who:
(1) is directly employed by the applicant or a subsidiary in a position having authority for policy or management within the applicant organization; and
(2) Is legally empowered in writing by the applicant to sign license applications or other requests for approval on behalf of the applicant; and
(3) Understands the provisions and requirements of the various export control statutes and regulations, and the criminal liability, civil liability and administrative penalties for violating the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations; and
(4) Has the independent authority to:
(i) Enquire into any aspect of a proposed export or temporary import by the applicant, and
(ii) Verify the legality of the transaction and the accuracy of the information to be submitted;
(iii) Refuse to sign any license application or other request for approval without prejudice or other adverse recourse. (22 C.F.R.§ 120.25)

End-use - A detailed description of how the ultimate consignee intends to use the commodities being exported.

End-user - The person abroad that receives and ultimately uses the exported or re-exported items. The end-user is not a forwarding agent or intermediary, but may be the purchaser or ultimate consignee.

Export - Generally, an export means (1) an actual shipment or transmission of items controlled under the EAR or ITAR out of the United States; (2) any written, oral, or visual release or disclosure of controlled technology, information, or software to a Foreign Person either in the United States or outside the United States, or (3) any actual use or application of controlled technology on behalf of or for the benefit of any foreign entity or person anywhere.

Export Administration Regulations (EAR) – (15 CFR § 774) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) promulgated and implemented by the Department of Commerce that regulate the export of goods and related technology identified on the Commodity Control List (CCL), Title 15 CFR 774, Supp. 1. Goods and technology on the CCL are not inherently military in nature; they are primarily and inherently commercial or potentially commercial in nature.

Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) - Identifies items on the Commerce Control List that are subject to the export licensing authority of the Bureau of Industry and Security.

Exporter - The person who has authority of a principal party in interest to determine and control the sending of items out of the country.

Export license - The approval documentation issued by an export agency authority authorizing the recipient to proceed with the export, re-export, or other regulated activity as specified on the application.


Foreign Person - Both the EAR and ITAR define "foreign person" as any foreign corporation, business association, partnership, trust, society, or any other entity or group that is not incorporated or organized to do business in the United States as well as international organizations, foreign governments and any agency or subdivision of foreign governments (e.g. diplomatic missions), and anyone who is not a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident of the United States (i.e., a "green card" holder) or who does not have refugee or asylum status in the United States. 'Foreign national' is not an ITAR term per se, but the ITAR does define the term "foreign person" as any natural person who is not a lawful permanent resident or who is not a "protected individual". This also includes any governmental entity.

Forwarding agent - This is the person in the country of origin who is authorized by a principle party in interest to perform the services required to facilitate the export of the items from the country of origin. This may include air couriers or carriers. In routed export transactions, the forwarding agent and the exporter may be the same for compliance purposes under the EAR.

Fundamental Research - (EAR and ITAR) means basic or applied research in science and engineering performed or conducted at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly in the scientific community. Fundamental research is distinguished from research that results in information that is restricted for proprietary reasons or national security reasons (EAR) or pursuant to specific U.S. government access and dissemination controls (ITAR).

Fundamental Research Exclusions - The EAR provides that university research normally will be considered as fundamental research unless the university or its researchers accept sponsor restrictions on publication of scientific and technical information resulting from the project or activity. The EAR specifically permits limited prepublication reviews by research sponsors to prevent inadvertent divulging of proprietary information provided to the researcher by the sponsor or to insure that publication will not compromise patent rights of the sponsor. The citation for the official definition of fundamental research under the EAR is 15 CFR § 734.8.

The ITAR states that university research will not be deemed to qualify as fundamental research if: (1) the university or its researchers accept any restrictions on publication of scientific and technical information resulting from the project or activity; or (2) the research is federally funded and specific access and dissemination controls protecting information resulting from the research have been accepted by the university or the researcher. The ITAR citation is 22 CFR § 120.11(8).


Good - Any article, natural or man-made substance, material, supply, or manufactured product, including inspection and test equipment, and excluding technology.


Intermediate consignee - The person who acts as an agent for a principal party in interest for the purpose of affecting the delivery of items to the ultimate consignee. The intermediate consignee may be a bank, forwarding agent, or other person who acts as an agent for a principal party in interest.

International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) – The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR § 120-130, regulations promulgated and implemented by the Department of State that control the export of articles, services, and related technical data that are inherently military in nature, as determined by the State Department. These "defense articles," "defense services," and related "technical data" are listed on the Munitions List (USML), 22 CFR § 121. Even some articles and technologies that are not readily identifiable as inherently military in nature—for example, research satellites—are included on the USML.


Know/Knowledge - (EAR 15 CFR Part 772) Knowledge of a circumstance (the term may be a variant, such as "know," "reason to know," or "reason to believe") includes not only positive knowledge that the circumstance exists or is substantially certain to occur, but also an awareness of a high probability of its existence or future occurrence. Such awareness is inferred from evidence of the conscious disregard of facts known to a person and is also inferred from a person's willful avoidance of facts. This definition does not apply to part 760 of the EAR (Restrictive Trade Practices or Boycotts).

The Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) do not specifically define the term "willful," "willfully," "know," or "knowledge." A court held in 1996, however, that AECA and ITAR were not unconstitutionally vague with regard to meaning of term "willful" used in criminal penalty provisions, in light of limiting judicial construction given to that term. Bernstein v. U.S. Dept. of State , 922 F.Supp. 1426 (N.D.Cal. 1996).


License – Authority issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security authorizing an export, reexport, or other regulated activity. The term "license" does not include authority represented by a "License Exception."

License Exception - An authorization described in part 740 of the EAR that allows you to export or reexport, under stated conditions, items subject to the EAR that otherwise would require a license. Unless otherwise indicated, these License Exceptions are not applicable to exports under the licensing jurisdiction of agencies other than the Department of Commerce.


Medicines - Medicines means "drug" as defined in section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321). For purposes of the EAR, medicines includes prescription and over the counter medicines for humans and animals. Note that certain medicines, such as vaccines and immunotoxins, are on the Commerce Control List. Only items meeting the definition of "medicine" and that are classified as EAR99 are eligible for export to Iran and Sudan under the licensing procedures set forth in the appropriate regulations promulgated and administered by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Munitions List - articles, services and related technical data designated as defense articles and defense services pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act.


Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) – The office at the Department of the Treasury responsible for blocking assets of foreign countries subject to economic sanctions, controlling participation by U.S. persons, including foreign subsidiaries, in transactions with specific countries or nationals of such countries, and administering embargoes on certain countries or areas of countries. (see 31 CFR parts 500 through 590.)


Person – A natural person, including a citizen or national of the United States or of any foreign country; any firm; any government, government agency, government department, or government commission; any labor union; any fraternal or social organization; and any other association or organization whether or not organized for profit. This definition does not apply to part 760 of the EAR (Restrictive Trade Practices or Boycotts).

Port of export –The port where the cargo to be shipped abroad is laden aboard the exporting carrier. It includes, in the case of an export by mail, the place of mailing.

Publicly available information – (EAR; part 732) Information that is generally accessible to the interested public in any form and, therefore, not subject to the EAR.

Publicly available technology and software – (EAR; §734.3(b)(3)) Technology and software that are already published or will be published; arise during, or result from fundamental research; are educational; or are included in certain patent applications.

Public Domain - (ITAR; 22 CFR § 120.11) means information that is published and that is generally accessible or available to the public: (1) through sales at newsstands and bookstores; (2) through subscriptions which are available without restriction to any individual who desires to obtain or purchase the published information; (3) through second class mailing privileges granted by the U.S. government; (4) at libraries open to the public or from which the public can obtain documents; (5) through patents available at any patent office; (6) through unlimited distribution at a conference, meeting, seminar, trade show, or exhibition, generally accessible to the public, in the United States; (7) through public release (i.e., unlimited distribution) in any form (e.g., not necessarily in published form) after approval by the cognizant U.S. government department or agency; and (8) through fundamental research in science and engineering at accredited institutions of higher learning in the U.S. where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly in the scientific community.

Purchaser - The person abroad who has entered into a transaction to purchase an item for delivery to the ultimate consignee. In most cases, the purchaser is not a bank, forwarding agent, or intermediary. The purchaser and ultimate consignee may be the same entity.


Reasons for Control – Reasons for Control are: Anti-Terrorism (AT), Chemical & Biological Weapons (CB), Crime Control (CC), High Performance Computer (XP), Missile Technology (MT), National Security (NS), Nuclear Nonproliferation (NP), Regional Stability (RS), Short Supply (SS), and United Nations sanctions (UN). Items controlled within a particular ECCN may be controlled for more than one reason.

Re-export – An actual shipment or transmission of items subject to export regulations from one foreign country to another foreign country. For the purposes of the EAR, the export or reexport of items subject to the EAR that will transit through a country or countries to a new country, or are intended for reexport to the new country, are deemed to be exports to the new country.

In addition, for purposes of satellites controlled by the Department of Commerce, the term "reexport" also includes the transfer of registration of a satellite or operational control over a satellite from a party resident in one country to a party resident in another country.


Software – A collection of one or more "programs" or "microprograms" fixed in any tangible medium of expression.

Specially Designated National (SDN) - List of designated entities and individuals found by the US. Government to be agents of the sanctioned countries, terrorism sponsoring organizations, international narcotics traffickers, weapons proliferators or otherwise engaged in activities that threaten the security of the US.

Specified Technologies - Technologies, items or information that appear on either the Commerce Control List (CCL) or the U.S. Munitions List (USML).


Technical assistance - Technical assistance may take forms such as instruction, skills training, working knowledge, consulting services, and may also involve the transfer of technical data.

Technical data - Information required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance, or modification of controlled articles. This includes information in the form of blueprints, drawings, plans, instructions, diagrams, photographs, etc. May take forms such as blueprints, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables, engineering designs and specifications, manuals and instructions written or recorded on other media or devices such as disk, tape, or read-only memories.

The ITAR definition does not include information concerning general scientific, mathematical, or engineering principles commonly taught in schools, colleges, and universities, or information in the public domain (ITAR 120.10(5)).

Technology - Any specific information and know-how (whether in tangible form, such as models, prototypes, drawings, sketches, diagrams, blueprints, manuals, software, or in intangible form, such as training or technical services) that is required for the development, production, or use of a good, but not the good itself.

Transfer – A transfer to any person of items subject to the EAR either within the United States or outside of the United States with the knowledge or intent that the items will be shipped, transferred, or transmitted to an unauthorized recipient.


Ultimate consignee - The principal party in interest located abroad who receives the exported or reexported items. The ultimate consignee is not a forwarding agent or other intermediary, but may be the end-user.

U.S. person - An individual who is a citizen of the United States or a foreign national with a visa status of Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). An LPR is also known as a Permanent Resident Alien (PRA).

U.S. Government Restricted Party List - The U.S. export controls regulate transactions with certain specified entities and individuals, including those named on the following lists (collectively referred to as "Restricted Party Lists"), accessible here.


WMD – Weapon(s) of mass destruction.