Regulatory intelligence for US exporters

BIS Removes, Adds Controls for Cameras, Systems, Components Exports

The Bureau of Industry and Security this week eliminated some license requirements for exports of certain cameras, systems and related components, which the agency said will help U.S. exporters better compete with foreign firms and reduce licensing burdens. The final rule, released Feb. 22, also introduces a new control for certain high-speed cameras that BIS said pose proliferation risks.

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Under the new rules, effective March 8, exporters will no longer need to apply for a license when shipping certain cameras and their parts to military end-users in Country Group A:1 countries. Those cameras include items described in 744.9 of the Export Administration Regulations, including certain technology controlled under Export Control Classification Number 0A504 and “incorporating commodities” controlled by ECCNs 6A002 or 6A003, along with other items.

BIS said the national security rationale for this license requirement is “no longer relevant.” Exports of these cameras to A:1 countries -- which include U.S. allies that make up the multilateral Wassenaar Arrangement -- generally don’t pose a national security risk to the U.S., BIS said, adding it has approved “thousands” of license applications for these items over the past decade. “Therefore, BIS has determined that U.S. Government and industry resources could be more effectively deployed reviewing transactions posing potentially higher risks.”

It also said the cameras have become “mainstream commercial products” since BIS first imposed the control in 2009 and are commonly used to determine if a person has a fever before entering a building. The items are now manufactured and widely available outside the U.S., BIS said, including in China.

The controls have hurt exports of U.S. firms, “increased competition from non-U.S.-origin products” and have contributed to a licensing burden both on industry and “BIS itself,” the agency said. “This rule ensures that U.S. companies are operating on a level playing field with foreign competitors when selling to end users in County Group A:1 countries.”

The rule also adds a new control for certain high-speed cameras. BIS said it wants to restrict cameras that aren't already controlled by either ECCNs 6A003 or 6A203 but have a minimum exposure time of 1 microsecond or faster and a “throughput of 13.43 Giga Pixels per second or greater when taken at 205,000 frames per second.”

BIS said the control will go beyond the current restrictions maintained by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a multilateral export control body that looks to prevent trade that contributes to nuclear proliferation. It decided to make the change after a “technical analysis of high-speed camera systems,” which showed that more cameras other than the ones currently controlled by the Nuclear Supplier Group "have similar applications of proliferation concern."

The newly controlled cameras can be exported to Nuclear Supplier Group countries without a license, except to Russia, Belarus and China, BIS said. The agency is placing the control under ECCN 6A293, a “classification for temporary controls” while BIS “seeks multilateral agreement.”