Licensing Policy Review and Building a Single Licensing Agency
“And for American exporters, time they could be spending figuring out how to sell their products is instead spent navigating a confusing and time-consuming export control bureaucracy. What’s more, America is frequently putting our companies at a competitive disadvantage when we forbid them from selling an item to an overseas market even when that item is readily available world-wide.” – Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, August 31, 2010
Under the current export control system, three different USG agencies have the authority to issue export licenses: the Departments of State, Commerce, and the Treasury. In 2009, licensing agencies within these departments processed over 130,000 applications. In some cases, exporters were required to apply for multiple licenses from separate departments.
The goal of ECR is the creation a Single Control Agency (SCA), which would act as a “one stop shop” for businesses seeking an export license and for the USG to coordinate review of license applications. The result will be a licensing process that is transparent, predictable, and timely.
The Administration has identified practices, business processes, and definitions used across the three licensing agencies, with the aim of making changes that will harmonize how we do business and remove inherent discrepancies and contradictions between the current systems. The three departments are developing a proposed single license application form, a key step for developing a single portal for industry to file and to receive licenses. Key terms used by the different agencies are now being harmonized, necessary for the migration to a single form.
In an initial reform step, the lists were consolidated to provide a “one stop” screening list for companies during the license application process. Departments have consolidated the export screening lists administered by the Departments of State, Commerce, and the Treasury into a common electronic format to facilitate the screening of parties to export transactions to ensure compliance with U.S. export control and sanctions regulations. Previously, exporters needed to review three screening lists maintained by three different Departments. Departments send regular updates directly to the consolidated screening list. Companies have the option of signing up for e-mail alert of when updates are made. Sign up for email updates to the Consolidated Screening List.
Licensing Policy Reform
The Administration has already begun implementing licensing policies linked to the tier of control in the new control lists (see Export Control Lists) and have made the following reforms to both the USML and the CCL:
The Information Triage Unit
One of the priorities of ECR is to ensure that licensing agencies have more comprehensive access to information, including intelligence, needed during export license reviews, as well as providing agencies with a single coordination point for gathering and sharing relevant information. As a result, in March 2012 the multi-agency Information Triage Unit (ITU) opened and is housed in the Department of Commerce’s, Bureau of Industry and Security. Read more about the ITU.