US Commerce Department to License Export of Satellites; Move is Key Component of Export Control Reform Initiative
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) recently published regulations that will fundamentally change the nature of U.S. export controls on most commercial, scientific, and civil satellites and their parts and components. Together with a companion rule issued by the Department of State, the action moves the items from Category XV of the State Department’s U.S. Munitions List (USML) to the Commerce Control List (CCL).
Items on the USML are governed by the hyper-strict International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and supervised by the State Department. Most less-sensitive commercial exports on the CCL are governed by BIS, which has significantly fewer restrictions and controls than ITAR. Thus, this move opens the door to a much broader export market for these items.
“[This] action reflects the cooperation that has made the President’s Export Control Reform Initiative such an extraordinary success story,” said Under Secretary of Commerce Eric L. Hirschhorn. “For the many American businesses that compete in this key technology sector, it means a stronger United States defense industrial base, the ability to focus the government’s limited resources on the technologies and destinations of greatest concern, an increase in the competitiveness of the U.S. satellite industry, and a reduction in the licensing burden on U.S. exporters.”
The items moving to Commerce jurisdiction include communications satellites that do not contain classified components, certain remote sensing satellites, spacecraft parts, components, accessories, attachments, equipment, or systems that are not specifically identified in the revised category, and all radiation-hardened microelectronic microcircuits.
In many instances, the updated regulations also allow the commercial, scientific and civil satellites transferred to Commerce jurisdiction to incorporate parts and components listed on the USML and remain under Commerce licensing authority.
The changes to the controls on radiation-hardened microelectronic microcircuits take effect 45 days after publication of the rule, while the remainder of the changes take effect 180 days after publication.