With all the trade compliance issues that global organizations have to worry about, it is sometimes a wonder that business ever gets done. Moreover, certain types of businesses are subject to more stringent regulations. Take the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). If they affect your company, they can easily complicate your business.

ITAR is simple in principle. Their point is to deny access to items on the United States Munitions List (USML) to people other than U.S. citizens and foreign nationals with State Department clearance. In practice, however, the regulations are anything but simple.

We include ITAR compliance in our trade compliance services for that reason. We help companies impacted by the regulations remain on the government’s good side.

ITAR in a Nutshell

Preventing items on the USML from falling into the wrong hands makes a lot of sense. In order to accomplish the goal, regulators implemented ITAR. Companies trading in controlled goods impacted by the regulations must take the necessary steps to limit access to defense and aerospace items on the government list. And it is not just physical items like guns and grenade launchers. The regulations also apply to technical data for the items on the USML.

ITAR compliance affects:

  • designers and manufacturers
  • distributors and wholesalers
  • third-party suppliers
  • contractors and vendors.

Essentially, every organization involved in getting listed items from the design stage to final sale must be either a U.S. citizen or a foreign national with the proper registration and clearance. That means every organization in the supply chain must be ITAR compliant.

Technical Data Is Difficult

Some parts of ITAR compliance are fairly straightforward. For example, restricting access to physical armaments can be accomplished through fairly basic means. ITAR gets difficult when you are talking about technical data. Limiting access to technical data is a lot more challenging for companies that hire foreign nationals overseas.

ITAR calls for a compliance program capable of monitoring and tracking technical data. A compliance program should include regular audits of sensitive data. Moreover, both physical and digital documents should be properly marked so that those who handle them know they cannot share them with just anyone.

USML Categories

Items on the USML are divided into categories for easier reference. You can find category details by reviewing the electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Meanwhile, here are the USML categories:

  • Category I – Firearms and Related Articles
  • Category II – Guns and Armament
  • Category III – Ammunition and Ordinance
  • Category IV – Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs, and Mines
  • Category V – Explosives and Energetic Materials, Propellants, Incendiary Agents, and the Constituents
  • Category VI – Surface Vessels of War and Special Naval Equipment
  • Category VII – Ground Vehicles
  • Category VIII – Aircraft and Related Vehicles
  • Category IX – Military Training Equipment and Training
  • Category X – Personal Protective Equipment
  • Category XI – Military Electronics
  • Category XII – Fire Control, Lasers, Imaging, and Guidance Equipment
  • Category XIII – Materials and Miscellaneous Articles
  • Category XIV – Toxicology Agents, Including Chemical Agents, Biological Agents, and Associated Equipment
  • Category XV – Spacecraft and Related Articles
  • Category XVI – Nuclear Weapons Related Articles
  • Category XVII – Classified Articles, Technical Data, and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated
  • Category XVIII – Directed Energy Weapons
  • Category XIX – Gas Turbine Engines and Associated Equipment
  • Category XX – Submersible Vehicles and Related Articles
  • Category XXI – Articles, Technical Data, and Defense Services Not Otherwise Enumerated

We included the category list just to help you understand how complex ITAR compliance is. As such, you need a trusted partner who can help you cross your T’s and dot your I’s. If ITAR impacts your business, contact us. We can help you make sure you do things right.

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