Export Controls: Processes for Determining Proper Control of Defense-Related Items Needs Improvement

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. government controls the export of defense-related items to minimize the risk such exports may pose to its interests. The U.S. export control system is primarily divided between two regulatory regimes, one managed by the Department of State for defense items and another managed by the Department of Commerce for dual-use items that have both military and commercial applications. Companies are responsible for determining which department to use and what requirements apply when exporting their items, but can obtain government assistance through two different processes. ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 20, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. government controls the export of defense-related items to minimize the risk such exports may pose to its interests. The U.S. export control system is primarily divided between two regulatory regimes, one managed by the Department of State for defense items and another managed by the Department of Commerce for dual-use items that have both military and commercial applications. Companies are responsible for determining which department to use and what requirements apply when exporting their items, but can obtain government assistance through two different processes. If companies have determined that their items are Commerce-controlled but are uncertain of export licensing requirements, they may request a classification from Commerce through the commodity classification process. Commerce can refer classification requests to State and the Department of Defense to confirm that the items are Commerce-controlled. However, if companies are unsure of which department has jurisdiction over their items, they can request a determination through the commodity jurisdiction process from State, which consults with Commerce and Defense. In implementing the commodity classification process, Commerce has improperly classified some State-controlled items as Commerce-controlled and has not adhered to regulatory time frames for responding to requests. Improper classifications have occurred because Commerce rarely obtains input from State and Defense before making decisions. Commerce officials stated that they have sufficient experience to determine which items can be classified as Commerce-controlled without referring requests to State and Defense, which could delay the process. However, in several instances, Commerce improperly provided companies with classifications for State-controlled items, increasing the risk of such items being inappropriately exported. State has not adhered to established time frames when implementing the commodity jurisdiction process and has been unable to issue determinations for some items due to interagency disputes occurring outside the process. Causes for delays included late input from Defense and Commerce, disagreements over the appropriate jurisdiction for an item, need for sufficient information to make determinations, and untimely initial determinations to Defense and Commerce before finalizing an item's jurisdiction. Delays in the process can discourage companies from requesting determinations, as well as affect their ability to compete in certain markets."

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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 20, 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: Processes for Determining Proper Control of Defense-Related Items Needs Improvement, report, September 20, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295321/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.