What are U.S. Export Regulations?

what are u s export regulations

Anyone who plans on exporting goods must know all the regulations that must be adhered to. The United States needed various export laws to protect national security and comply with foreign policy. Multiple agencies enforce exporting, and each agency has specific rules and regulations. 

Which agencies are involved in the United States export process?

There are many governmental agencies involved in the security of exportation. First, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) controls Export Administration Regulations (EAR). EAR manages exports such as software and technology, including hardware and software with specific encryption processes, commercial and dual-purpose goods, and various defense items such as elements belonging to military aircraft and more. 

The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) manages the International Traffic Arms Regulations (ITAR), and ITAR controls the exportation of any defense-related articles, data, and services. 

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) comprises specially trained customs officers whose key responsibility is to manage imports making their way into the United States. Customs officers have the power to inspect, delay or even seize incoming shipments that are suspicious and that have not adhered to the laws and regulations according to the various export agencies. 

The U.S. Census Bureau is not officially involved in the export process. Still, this agency has a foreign division that controls and executes the Foreign Trade Regulations (15 CFR Part 30) that oversees the organization and submission of Electronic Export Information (EEI).

The Census Bureau isn’t solely responsible for managing this export data, as other agencies, such as the BIS, OFAC, DDTC, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, all have responsibilities in managing electronic export information.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) oversees trade and economic approvals that restrict the exchange of transactions between certain countries. 

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the United States government agencies involved in controlling the safety of the exporting of items, as there are numerous other agencies involved, depending on the specific situation. Some other United States agencies that have some involvement in the management of the security of exports include:

  • Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Drug Enforcement Agency
  • Department of Energy 
  • Patent and Trademark Office
  • Agriculture Department
  • Maritime Administration
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Environmental Protection Agency

What exactly is exporting?

Exporting encompasses a broad range of activities, all with an expected ending: to deliver goods to any entity outside the United States. For example, exporting could entail shipping goods ordered online to an international location. In addition, exporting could be an ongoing relationship between two parties or a one-time transaction.

Regardless of the specifics, if an item comes from the United States and will be entering another country, even if it’s something as simple as carrying luggage on an airplane or boat ride to another country, it is considered exporting. 

What happens if export regulations are ignored?

If an exporter fails to comply with all of the regulations that the United States has set forth, their shipments will likely be lost, returned, or even destroyed.

Furthermore, each department involved in the United States export process has its own specific set of rules regarding noncompliance, but all agencies will impose substantial fees, criminal penalties, reversal of any license or export privileges, and possibly even jail time. 

Required licenses involved in export

There are several licenses that exporters must obtain before shipping goods internationally. One important license that some exporters must obtain is the ITAR license. The ITAR requires that any exporter who will be shipping defense-related articles not managed by the EAR register with the Department of State. The fees start at $2250 and are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance. 

Another license that exporters must obtain is an export license, which must be applied for through the BIS. If an exporter is unsure whether they need this particular license, they can contact the BIS directly for clarification.

This is not a complete list of necessary licenses involved in the export process, and to determine which licenses are necessary for your particular shipments, you need to contact the appropriate departments.   

Proper preparation of shipments

Due to the abundance of regulations that exporters must adhere to, it can be easy to minimize the importance of properly packaging the shipment itself, but this is also extremely important. If shipments are not packaged properly, they could be denied, become damaged, or fail to reach their destinations.

As you can see, U.S. export regulations can be an extremely complicated process with numerous components. If your company is feeling overwhelmed by all the strict and tedious guidelines, then you may want to consider investing in the services of an experienced shipping broker.

Kaiser & Johnson Export Packaging has many years of experience managing international and military shipments for its customers. Kaiser & Johnson is aware of all the strict requirements for exporting, and they also have a great deal of experience properly packaging all shipments according to the specific requirements. 


Contact Kaiser & Johnson today if you need a high-quality, trustworthy, and dependable shipping broker service. There is no need to continue to increase your stress levels to ensure that all exports will be delivered to their destinations promptly.

Kaiser & Johnson would be more than happy to take you on as a customer and handle all of your international and military shipments. Kaisier & Johnson will provide you with a fair quote before you make a commitment to allow this broker to manage all your important shipments. 

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