BIS Issues Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking re: Revising the Descriptions of Items on the CCL and Foreign Availability

On December 9, 2010, the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register. As part of the President's export control reform initiative, BIS is seeking public comment on how the descriptions of items controlled on the Commerce Control List (CCL) of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) could be more clear and positive and "tiered" in a manner consistent with the control criteria the Administration has developed as part of the reform effort. The request for comments on how items on the CCL could be tiered includes a request for comments on the degree to which a controlled item provides the United States with a critical, substantial, or significant military or intelligence advantage; and the availability of the item outside certain groups of countries.

BIS states that:

A core task of the Administration's Export Control Reform Initiative is to enhance national security by reviewing and revising, as necessary and to the extent permitted by law and regime obligations, the lists of items (i.e., commodities, software, and technology) controlled for export and reexport so that they (1) are clearer and more "positive" in nature and (2) can more easily be screened into three tiers based upon a set of criteria. The Administration has developed a three- tiered set of criteria to help determine whether a license should be required or a license exception should be available to allow license-free export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) of a given item, with appropriate conditions, to various destinations. The three-tiered set of criteria has two primary elements-(a) the degree to which an item provides the United States with a military or intelligence advantage and (b) the availability of the item outside the United States, its close allies and multilateral export control regime partners.

Accordingly, BIS seeks public comments on how certain export control classification numbers (ECCNs) that do not contain "positive" descriptions or that are unclear can be made more clear and more specific. In addition, BIS also seeks public comments on whether items with the capabilities and characteristics described on the CCL, and controlled for other than solely anti- terrorism (AT) reasons or Crime Control (CC) reasons, are indigenously developed, produced, or enhanced (a) almost exclusively in the United States or (b) in destinations other than Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, or the United Kingdom.