Today, the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published final rules to amend U.S. export controls on toxicological agents and associated equipment, along with directed energy weapons and related items.  Effective December 31, 2016, the final rules revise Categories XIV and XVIII of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations’ (ITAR) U.S. Munitions List (USML) and move several currently ITAR-controlled items to the Export Administration Regulations’ (EAR) Commerce Control List (CCL).

Overall, and consistent with one of the primary objectives of the President’s Export Control Reform (ECR) Initiative, Categories XIV and XVIII of the ITAR’s USML are much more narrowly crafted such that they now will generally control a limited, positive list of items.  At the same time, BIS has created ECCNs 1×607 and 6×619 to cover those toxicological items and items related to directed energy weapons shifting from control under the ITAR to control under the EAR.

DDTC and BIS also made several clarifications to their proposed rules, which were published more than one year ago, on June 17, 2015.  For example, BIS added a reference in new Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 1A607.f to “protective coatings” to make clear that this category covers Chemical Agent Resistant Coatings (CARC), except CARC qualified to the following four military specifications, which remain controlled by the ITAR: MIL-PRF-32348, MIL-DTL-64159, MIL-C-46168, or MIL-DTL-53039.

Additionally, BIS amended License Exceptions BAG and TMP to authorize exports of chemical and biological protective gear so that such exceptions would be consistent with the ITAR exemption for Personal Protective Equipment.  This amendment is particularly important for U.S. government contractors, which often are issued chemical and biological protective gear prior to being deployed abroad to work in active theaters of operations or other dangerous environments.

With only a few USML categories yet to be revised, the Administration is fast approaching the finish line for one key element of the President’s ECR Initiative.