Export Control

Federal export control laws govern the international shipment or transmission of certain controlled or sensitive physical items, technology, information or software as defined by the U.S. State Department International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the U.S. Commerce Department Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or foreign entities.  These laws also apply to “deemed exports” where there is a “release” or sharing of export-controlled information or technology to any foreign national in the United States, which may include individuals working at UC Davis in your lab or facility.

The United States Export Control exists to protect the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and is governed by the U.S. State Department International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the U.S. Commerce Department Export Administration Regulations (EAR) for foreign entities.  Due to concerns about homeland security, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and unauthorized releases of technology to U.S. economic competitors, the federal government has increased its scrutiny of export control compliance by colleges and universities.

It is important to understand that export control laws can potentially apply to ANY shipment, transmission, or transfer of your research-related physical items, information, or software outside the United States.  Depending on the type of item or technology and country involved, the U.S. government may require an export license prior to transferring certain items to certain countries, foreign nationals, or entities, even (as noted) within the U.S.

The Federal Government can (and has) imposed serious criminal and civil sanctions against Institutions, entities, and individuals who violate these expert control rules. Thus, UC Davis and its individual faculty and research must exercise due diligence in complying with U.S. export control laws while preserving one of the University of California’s core values, openness in research.

The Fundamental Research Exclusion (FRE)

Because UC Davis embraces the concepts of academic freedom and open publication and dissemination of research findings and results, most research at UCD is excluded from the “deemed export” rules under the Fundamental Research Exclusion (FRE) as long certain criteria are satisfied. Importantly, however, the FRE generally only applies to the results of the research and then only when such results are ordinarily published and shared with the scientific community.

To qualify under the FRE, the research must:

  • Be free of any publication or access restrictions, and
  • Not restrict foreign national participation.

Note that even if your research qualifies for the FRE, a “deemed export” designation is still possible if your research involves the use of  controlled or ITAR-controlled equipment or technology. Even if your research is fundamental research as defined by federal law, any and all actual shipments or exports of research items outside the United States should be vetted to determine with a license is required.

Additionally, the Fundamental Research Exclusion does not apply to:

  • Physical goods, the actual physical export (e.g. shipment or transmission) of control items, data, or information outside the United States)
  • Software
  • Encryption
  • Research when there is no intention to publish the results
  • Some research conducted out of the United States

For more specific information please watch the brief video that provide an overview of export control rules generally, University General Export Control Video, and a separate video that specifically addresses export control on Shipping OverviewShipping Documentation, and related laws and rules associated with international shipments on the Resources page.

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