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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

Current System

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.

Proposed Reforms

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.

Completed Reforms

Consolidated Export Screening List

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.

Fact Sheets, Press Releases, and Quick Reference Dashboard


July 2 - State and Commerce Published Final Rules for Category XI

July 2 - Portions of Satellite Rules Pertaining to Radiation-Hardened Microelectric Microcircuits Take Effect

May 14 - State and Commerce Publish Final Satellite Rules

March 28 - Revisions to U.S. Munitions Import List Published

March 18 - The Decontrol Myth

February 18 - ECR is Strengthening Arms Embargoes

January 14 - State and Commerce Publish Third Set of Final Rules for Implementing ECR

January 14 - State and Commerce Publish Corrective Rules Applying to Four Revised Categories

October 29 - President Obama Issues Presidential Determination to Facilitate Satellite Reclassification

October 28 - First Export Control Reform List Rule Changes Take Effect

October 4, 2013 - Commerce Publishes Final Rule to Make the Commerce Control List Clearer

October 3, 2013 - Commerce and State Publish Corrective Rule

August 27, 2013 - State Publishes New Brokering Rules

August 20, 2013 - USML/CCL Rule Revisions Can Be Followed on ECR Website

July 29, 2013 - Annual BIS Update Conference Held in Washington, DC
State and Commerce Published Second-Round Proposed Rules for Category XI

July 8, 2013 – ECR Reaches Another Key Milestone as Second Set of Final Rules Publish

July 3, 2013 - BIS Offers ECR Webinars and Teleconferences

June 3, 2013 - BIS-Produced Tools for Understanding New “Specially Designed” Definition, the CCL Order of Review, and License Exception STA Now Available

May 29, 2013 - State and Commerce Publish Proposed Rules for Category XV

Previous news headlines.