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6 Things Any Entrepreneur Should Know About Export Controls

It’s not news to most entrepreneurs that the U.S. Government imposes regulations on the release of technology and equipment developed within the United States. What many don’t fully understand is the broad reach of those regulations. If you are in any way involved in the development or manufacture of technology-driven products—regardless of where you market or sell those products—you should be aware of six key issues related to export control regulations:

1. Export control regulations may apply to your product even if you believe they don’t.

It’s widely assumed that export control regulations only apply to highly secure exports such as military technology. While the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) regulates the release of defense technology, it is not the only government agency tasked with imposing export control regulations. Your product might be considered a “dual-use” technology, meaning it could have both military and civilian uses, and thus it would be regulated by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). BIS updates its regulations several times a year, meaning the list of end products regulated is constantly changing. The types of goods restricted by BIS can include commercial or civilian grade navigation equipment and software, basic software based encryption, and many basic types of microprocessors, among other items many businesses might not expect to be regulated. As a result, some BIS regulations might apply to your product without you being aware of it.

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