Whether you’re a corporation or a research institution, if you’re welcoming international visitors to your facility you have a legal obligation to avoid exposing them to unlicensed technology, blueprints, equipment used in your manufacturing process and other controlled data.
Export compliance violations don’t just happen to exporters who ship goods across borders. Export compliance violations can occur on your own organization’s premises – in the warehouse, in a laboratory, even in the lunchroom where you and your foreign business partners are casually chatting about your operations.
Here are five tips to help you protect yourself from deemed export violations while rolling out the red carpet to international partners, investors, customers and anyone else scheduled to knock on your door.
1. Everything Needs a Plan – Technology Included
A Technology Control Plan (TCP) describes in detail the way in which sensitive technology and equipment is safeguarded. It provides clear descriptions of the information to be protected, and outlines the necessary controls and procedures to keep your controlled data out of the wrong hands. It also describes relevant roles and responsibilities amongst employees, so everybody is aware of their individual obligations. With an airtight TCP, nobody has to second-guess the measures that are in place to protect sensitive data.
2. Screen. No exceptions
It should go without saying that restricted and denied party screening is a must-do if you’re planning to host a foreign national visitor. But what about the research partner or client you’ve worked with before – the nice fellow who visited your premises just last year. Surely you don’t need to screen him again, do you? Well, the answer is yes, you do. You may know your visitor well enough to know how he takes his coffee and even the name of his Yorkshire Terrier. What you don’t know is whether or not the status of his company has changed since you last met.
3. Don’t Pass on the Paperwork
Unless a license exception of exemption is available, proper licensing for controlled technology is compulsory. Know under which authority your technology is controlled and understand what’s required by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Any license application process can take several weeks, so plan international visits with this in mind.
Any employees who will be meeting with a visiting foreign national must read and sign certification documents – these are legal documents that prove your employees understand and agree to abide by deemed export laws. This paperwork not only mitigates the risk of an accidental deemed export violation, but also helps you prove your due diligence in the event of an audit.
4. It’s all in the Details
Even with your visitor screened, approved and cleared to be exposed to the licensed technology of your choosing, your work isn’t done. Whether the visit lasts an hour or two weeks, you must ensure there are detailed records of all on-site visitor activities (and their travel details). You may never be audited – or you may find the government on your doorstep next week. Be sure you have comprehensive proof that everyone in your organization follows the appropriate processes for international visitors.
5. Be a Hoarder – at least for the next five years
The law says that all export compliance records – everything from restricted party screening results and details of visits to proof of licenses – must be kept for a minimum of five years. A centralized database is sound protection against the risk of lost, damaged or misfiled archives.
Implementing reliable processes to ensure your actions are compliant with U.S deemed export regulations is easier than you think. And the benefits of safe, worry-free international collaboration are well worth it.