Export Controls: Department of Commerce Controls over Transfers of Technology to Foreign Nationals Need Improvement

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "To protect its national security and foreign policy interests, the United States controls exports of civilian technologies that have military uses. U.S. firms may be required to obtain a license from the Department of Commerce before exporting these "dual-use" technologies from the United States to many other countries, including countries of concern. Since Commerce regulations also deem domestic transfers of controlled dual-use technologies to citizens of these countries to be exports, Commerce may require firms that employ foreign nationals working with these technologies in this country ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 6, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "To protect its national security and foreign policy interests, the United States controls exports of civilian technologies that have military uses. U.S. firms may be required to obtain a license from the Department of Commerce before exporting these "dual-use" technologies from the United States to many other countries, including countries of concern. Since Commerce regulations also deem domestic transfers of controlled dual-use technologies to citizens of these countries to be exports, Commerce may require firms that employ foreign nationals working with these technologies in this country to obtain "deemed" export licenses. The firms should, in many cases, hold a deemed export license, and the foreign nationals should have an appropriate visa classification, such as an H-1B specialized employment classification. Commerce issues deemed export licenses to firms that employ or sponsor foreign nationals after consulting the Departments of Defense, State, and Energy. Deemed export licenses are generally valid for 2 years and comprise almost 10 percent of all export licenses approved by Commerce. In fiscal year 2001, Commerce approved 822 deemed export license applications and rejected 3. Most of the approved licenses allowed foreign nationals from countries of concern to work with advanced computer, electronic, or telecommunication and information security technologies in the United States. To better direct its efforts to detect possible unlicensed deemed exports, in fiscal year 2001 Commerce screened thousands of applications for H-1B and other types of visas submitted by foreign nationals overseas. From these applications, it developed 160 potential cases for follow-up by enforcement staff in the field. However, Commerce did not screen thousands of H-1B change-of-status applications submitted domestically to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for foreign nationals already in the United States. In addition, Commerce could not readily track the disposition of the 160 cases referred to field offices for follow-up because it lacks a system for doing so. Commerce attaches security conditions to almost all licenses to mitigate the risk of providing foreign nationals with controlled dual-use technologies. However, according to senior Commerce officials, Commerce staff do not regularly visit forms to determine whether these conditions are being implemented because of competing priorities, resource constraints, and inherent difficulties in enforcing several conditions."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 6, 2002

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Export Controls: Department of Commerce Controls over Transfers of Technology to Foreign Nationals Need Improvement, report, September 6, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc292568/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.