As part of the ongoing Export Control Reform initiative, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) and Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) has issued proposed rules that would move certain items currently controlled on the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”) to the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). The proposed rules would move some items currently controlled under Categories I, II, and III of the U.S. Munitions List (“USML”), including certain firearms, guns and armament, and ammunition/ordnance to new Export Control Classification Numbers (“ECCNs”) on the EAR. After their publication in the Federal Register, there will be a 45-day comment period during which the agencies will accept public comments.
Specifically, the proposed rule targets for a move to the EAR products that are not inherently military, or do not possess characteristics that provide a military advantage to the U.S. These rules, once finalized, would reduce the compliance burden on exporters in the industry. However, the proposed rules do not represent a wholesale deregulation of the industry, as many items would remain highly controlled under the EAR’s “600-series” and other ECCNs, and would still require licenses to many destinations. Affected parties should carefully review the proposed rules and take the opportunity to comment on the proposed reforms.