Why Should I Care About Export Compliance?
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If you regularly read our blog articles or watch our YouTube videos, you likely know that export compliance is a big part of our law practice. For our readers who export products, technology, or information to foreign markets, or for those who may be considering exporting, we'll answer why you should care about export compliance.
Most people know that businesses who export highly controlled technologies, products with nuclear components or uses, or products with actual or potential military uses have major export compliance obligations.
What most people may not realize, however, is that any U.S. business that exports will have export compliance obligations. While export obligations may vary greatly from one industry to another, whether you sell radiological imaging technology, lasers, or chewing gum, you will have some export control obligations. Exporters are always responsible for where their products are shipped, who they are shipped and sold to, and ultimately, where they end up.
Export obligations result primarily from general U.S. export regulations, but also stem from sanctions laws and frequently changing executive orders, as well as restrictions imposed by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Violations of export obligations can include civil and criminal penalties, whether the violations are deliberate or not and may include bans from exporting.
Civil and criminal penalties, as well as the potential to be blocked from future exports are certainly compelling reasons to obey the law. However, taking export compliance seriously involves more than simply not deliberately violating the law. Export regulations apply to mistakes as well, companies who export are expected know the law and proactively keep their products and technology out of the wrong hands, and wrong countries. This means that U.S. businesses who export have some obligations related to what purchasers do with their products during shipping and after delivery.
Export compliance is not simply a mindset to obey the law, export compliance is a proactive process for ensuring that your company is protected from the risks associated with exporting, from an initial sales call all the way through to delivery and any potential resale or re-export.
Our firm can help you navigate export compliance, whether a one-off transaction or the development of a complete internal export compliance program, feel free to contact us with any questions about your operations and your export compliance obligations.
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