Archive for the ‘Balkans’ Category

BIS Celebrates Australia Group Milestone with New Regulation

Friday, September 30th, 2005 by Scott Gearity

While most college-age Australians have nothing more to remember their birthdays than hangovers and bad sunburns, a rather more sober Australian twenty-year-old recently celebrated its first twenty years stemming the spread of chemical and biological weapons. I am speaking of course of the Australia Group, the informal multilateral export control regime which returned to its place of birth earlier this year for its twentieth annual plenary session. Speaking at the plenary, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer recounted a bit of the organization’s history:

It is 20 years since Australia convened the first meeting of 15 like-minded countries in 1985 in Brussels.

That meeting was a response to the findings of a UN investigation, led by an Australian – Dr Peter Dunn, that Iraq had used chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war. It posed the question of how to prevent Iraq from acquiring materials for the production of chemical weapons through otherwise legitimate commercial trade.

The response – a proposal to harmonize national export controls – was endorsed by all present at that meeting, and the Australia Group was born.

But the plenary wasn’t all talk with the AG participants agreeing on three control list changes to refine limits on illegitimate trade in items with chemical or biological weapons end uses:

  1. Simplification of the types of pumps subject to controls due to their usefulness in manufacturing chemical weapons (the US controls such equipment under ECCN 2B350.i).
  2. New controls on spraying or fogging systems designed for use with aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and capable of delivering droplets of less than 50 m in diameter at a rate of greater than 2 liters per minute (ECCN 2B352).
  3. A revision to the technical note clarifying that the controls applicable to genetic elements and genetically-modified organisms also cover nucleic acid sequences that represent a significant hazard to human, animal or plant health or enhance the ability of AG-controlled or other microorganisms to cause harm. (This change in particular has potentially significant implications for firms and universities involved in biotechnology research. The revised technical note can be found under ECCN 1C353).

It may have taken nearly four months, but the US Bureau of Industry and Security did finally turn up with a gift in honor of the AG’s first twenty years on August 5 – a regulation implementing the group’s new rules. In addition to the control list and technical note revisions explained above, the BIS rule updates the Export Administration Regulations to reflect a new AG participant (Ukraine), the fact that the tiny Pacific island nation of Niue has acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and a new name for the largest part of the former Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).

Wassenaar Arrangement Implementation Roundup

Saturday, July 30th, 2005 by Scott Gearity

On July 15, the Bureau of Industry and Security published a massive final rule implementing the decisions made at the December 2004 plenary meeting of the Wassenaar Arrangement. Other Wassenaar participants have already taken similar steps to codify the group’s changes at a national level or will do so in the near future. In addition to the Wassenaar-conforming revisions to Commerce Control List Categories 1-9, BIS also took this opportunity to add or expand some unilateral US controls.

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Commerce Implements MTCR Changes

Thursday, March 10th, 2005 by Scott Gearity

On March 10 the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) revised the Export Administration Regulations to reflect a number of changes with respect to missile controls resulting from the October, 2004 plenary meeting of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

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Serbia and Montenegro No Longer ITAR-Proscribed

Wednesday, May 14th, 2003 by John Black

In a Notice Dated May 14, 2003, the White House issued a Presidential Determination stating, “furnishing of defense articles and services to Serbia and Montenegro will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace.” Crack export compliance consultants have determined this to mean that Serbia and Montenegro are no longer 126.1 ITAR proscribed countries. That means that licenses have a chance of approval and that you can use whatever scarce exemptions may be available.

Aircraft to Yugoslavia

Monday, November 25th, 2002 by John Black

BIS finally lifted the last remnants of the arms embargo to Yugoslavia on November 25. The primary aerospace impact of the regulatory change is to make complete aircraft classified as 9A991.a NLR eligible to Yugoslavia. Up until the notice, complete commercial aircraft still required an export license to Yugoslavia, even though commercial aircraft parts did not.

The rule change also lifts licensing requirements on a variety of other ECCN’s, a few of which may be of interest to the aerospace community, such as 6A003.b.3 imaging cameras and 6A002 optical sensors. There’s more good news for those of you who enjoy mounting 0A989 water cannons on your aircraft. They too are now NLR to Yugoslavia.

OFAC Publishes “New” Western Balkans Regulations

Thursday, May 30th, 2002 by John Black

In the May 30, 2002 Federal Register the Office of Foreign Assets Control published new “Western Balkans Transactions Regulations,” 31 CFR Part 588. The new regulations implement Executive Order 13219 of June 26, 2001. Both the Executive Order and the regulations block the property of those entities who are involved in violence or other destabilizing activities in the Western Balkans or obstructing the implementation of the Dayton Accords for Bosnia. The new regulations clarify the Western Balkans sanctions that OFAC implemented last June and do not include any significant new issues. The sanctions focus on the Western Balkans entities that OFAC has included on its Specially Designated Nationals Lists.

State Removes Two Countries from ITAR Proscribed Countries List

Wednesday, January 9th, 2002 by John Black

In the January 9, 2002 Federal Register, the Office of Defense Trade Controls (ODTC) amended the International Traffic in Arms Regulations by removing Tajikistan and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) from the list of proscribed countries in section 126.1 of the ITAR. This means it is no longer ODTC policy to deny licenses and agreements for these two countries and you may use license exemptions for these two countries. It also means that you no longer need ODTC approval for sending proposals (unless, of course, the proposals contain controlled technical data or the proposals are the type that require prior approval or notice for non-proscribed countries). ODTC also amended the ITAR to change the proscribed country “Zaire” to “the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)”.

The proscribed countries are: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Vietnam, Burma, China, Haiti, Liberia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

US Imposes Sanctions on Parties Who Threaten Peace in the Western Balkans

Friday, June 29th, 2001 by John Black

President Bush issued Executive Order 13219 in the June 29, 2001 Federal Register that imposes sanctions against a list of nearly 35 people and entities who is some manner threaten the peace in the Western Balkans. The sanctions block the assets of these listed individuals when those assets come into the United States or come into the possession or control of US persons.

In this executive order, “US person” includes any

  • US citizen, permanent resident alien,
  • entity organized under US law (including foreign branches but not foreign subsidiaries), and
  • person in the United States.

US persons should immediately begin screening all activities against the names on these lists. Annex 1 at the end of this newsletter contains the list.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control in the Treasury Department is responsible for administering the sanctions against the listed entities.

(In a related matter, President Bush also issued Proclamation 7452 blocking the listed persons from entering the United States. )

US Lifts Embargo on Serbia

Thursday, March 1st, 2001 by John Black

In the March 1, 2001 Federal Register the Commerce Department published regulations ending the US embargo on exports and reexports of commercial items to Serbia. At the same time, the Commerce Department revised the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) to require a license for exports and reexports to certain individual and companies identified by the Treasury Department. The United States continues its arms embargo on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (“FRY”), which consists of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Montenegro. Because of the arms embargo, certain items on the EAR’s Commerce Control List are subject to special licensing requirements.

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US Targets New Sanctions at Milosevic but Does Not Lift Embargo on Serbia

Tuesday, January 30th, 2001 by John Black

In one of his last acts in office, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13192 “lifting and modifying” the US embargo on Serbia. As a practical matter, however, the US embargo on export and reexports to Serbia remains in place, despite Clinton’s executive order, which was published in the January 23, 2001 Federal Register. Until the US Department of Commerce revises the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”), all items subject to the EAR continue to require a US license when destined for Serbia. Commerce has stated that it hopes that within a couple of weeks it will publish a revision to the EAR that will return Serbia to its pre-embargo status.

The primary immediate impact of the executive order is that it creates a new prohibited parties list consisting of former President Slobodan Milosevic and certain of his family, friends, supporters and business partners. See Annex 1 at the end of this newsletter for the new list of FYRM (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia-Milosevic) entities. The Treasury Department did not include the FYRM list in the Federal Register notice, but it did publish the list on its web page at http://www.treas.gov/ofac/.

What is the restriction on doing business with FYRMs? No “US person” may participate in or facilitate, directly or indirectly, any transaction involving any listed FYRM or any other entity owned or controlled by, or acting on behalf of, Milosevic or a listed entity. For the purpose of this restriction, “US Person” includes:

  • Any person in the United States;
  • Any US corporation and its foreign branches, but not its foreign subsidiaries; and
  • Any US citizen or permanent resident.