The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published amendments to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) easing its licensing policy and creating exceptions to license requirements for certain communications items sent to Sudan, consistent with the U.S. government’s commitment to advancing the free flow of information in Sudan. These changes were made in conjunction with a general license published by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), permitting the export or reexport of certain services, software, and hardware incident to personal communications to or in Sudan.

A license is required to export and reexport to Sudan most items on the EAR’s Commerce Control List, including many consumer communications devices and telecommunications infrastructure items.  BIS’s amendments revise its general policy of denial for license applications involving Sudan to permit case-by-case review for licenses involving telecommunications equipment and associated computers, software, and technology for civil end-use.

BIS’s amendments also revise License Exception Consumer Communications Devices (CCD) to authorize exports and reexports without a license of specified consumer communications devices (e.g., mobile phones, computers, modems, etc.) to eligible individuals and independent non-governmental organizations in Sudan.  BIS’s revision to License Exception CCD updates the list of eligible items, adding GPS and similar satellite receivers as eligible items for export and reexport to Sudan.  Further, BIS has included a carve-out in this exception that permits the provision of certain consumer software free of charge to the Sudanese government.

As part of the Sudan amendments, BIS revised another exception in the EAR (License Exception TMP), which previously outlined the criteria and restrictions for exporting certain tools of trade to Sudan.  BIS noted that License Exception CCD now authorizes all of the exports previously authorized by this exception.  This is notable given that License Exception CCD, on its face, does not reference tools of trade or indicate with any certainty that it would apply to exports of tools of trade.

In addition, the new rule removes a license requirement for reexports to Sudan of certain software classified under Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) 5D992.b and 5D992.c.  The first of these ECCNs generally includes encryption software that has the characteristics of, or performs the functions of, certain telecommunications and information security equipment, while ECCN 5D992.c includes mass market encryption software such as mobile apps.  Although reexports of these items are generally permitted, exporting such items from the United States to any destination with knowledge that they will be reexported to Sudan still is prohibited without a license.

A comprehensive analysis of the changes to U.S. export controls and sanctions applicable to Sudan can be found here.