Export Control Update

Departments of Commerce and State Release a Notice of Inquiry

On 13 January 2017, the Departments of Commerce and State released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in the Federal Register to seek public opinion on Category XII of the United States Munitions List (USML) and proposed changes to the Commerce Control List (CCL) Category VI. The Optical Society (OSA) encourages you to take the time to review this comprehensive document and evaluate the impact on your business. Comments are currently being accepted via the Federal register (State and Commerce) and the deadline to submit yours is 14 March 2017.

You will recall that in October of 2016, the final rule on USML and CCL were released and went into effect on 31 December 2016. It is important to note that this is a revision to those rules. The NOI is a pre-approved policy meaning that if not enough persuasive comments are received, the rules will stand as is.

Read OSA’s press release

Again, we strongly encourage you to review the NOI and analyze the impact on your current and future business.

Posted: January 13, 2017



Previous News from October 2016 

Final Rule on Export Control Category XII Released


Links to the Final Rule

Learn more about the new rules:

  • Webinar: On October 17, The Optical Society hosted a webinar entitled “Learn about the New Export Control Regulations” featuring Matt Borman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration.  View the webinar
  • OSA Laser Congress Video:  Kevin J. Wolf, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration of the United States Department of Commerce, spoke on November 3 at the OSA Laser Congress in Boston.  View the video.

On October 11, the Obama Administration posted the final rule of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) for Category XII.  Category XII encompasses fire control, laser, imaging, and guidance equipment that the United States considers critical to national security.  The rule is part of the Administration’s Export Control Reform effort. Category XII of the ITAR was the last category considered due to the complexity of the areas it covers.  

Despite this rule being final, the Department of State has indicated that a notice of inquiry (NOI) will be issued later this year seeking public input on technical criteria that would establish a bright line between military and commercial and civil systems. During the previous proposed rules, the criteria could not yet be identified.  

We urge companies to carefully review the rule to find out how it will impact your organization.

An Example of the Importance of Advocacy

In May 2015, a proposed rule was released and over 100 companies including The Optical Society voiced our concern with the proposal.  OSA also partnered with other societies to educate members of Congress about the negative effects the rules would have for the optics and photonics industry.  The results included letters by members of Congress to the Administration expressing concern over the rules.  In February 2016, Dr. Gregory Quarles, OSA Chief Scientist and a member of the Sensors and Instrumentation Technical Advisory Meeting (SITAC) of the Department of Commerce, testified before the House Small Business Committee and outlined three areas where the proposed rule would affect the optics community and small businesses the most: impact on the time to market for regulated products and components, the cost of compliance and the need to enhance government export assistance resources, particularly for small business.
The Optical Society and our community’s efforts resulted in a second proposed rule released in February 2016.  The Departments of Commerce, State and Defense clearly heard the call from our community and addressed many of the concerns raised. The second rule was a step in the right direction.  Another comment period was issued on the second rule and again The Optical Society weighed in along with others in the community. 

Interested in combining your interest in policy with your science and technical background?

Apply for OSA's Congressional Fellowships for the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill for one year.


Join the Optics Legislative Network - OSA's grassroots email list. Sign up today.

Note: Non-OSA members can sign up for the OLN by emailing public-policy@osa.org.