International Collaborations

In general, collaborations between university personnel and scholars at foreign institutions or organizations do not require export licenses unless they involve export controlled or restricted research or involve scholars in sanctioned countries. Before engaging in an international collaboration, the university needs to determine if export licenses are required and to verify that the foreign individual and/or organization are not blocked or sanctioned entities.

International Collaborations & Presentations – University activities that involve foreign national faculty, students, staff, visiting foreign scientists or collaborator(s), or other foreign entities (e.g., non-U.S. company, university or other organization) or research that will include travel to international conferences to present unpublished results may be subject to export controls especially if any of the foreign nationals are from embargoed or sanctioned countries.

International Consulting – Providing professional consulting services overseas, especially to embargoed or sanctioned countries (e.g., Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan and North Korea) is, in most cases, strictly prohibited.

Collaborations with International Colleagues

Collaboration with scientists outside the U.S. – Some research projects may involve collaboration with scientists who reside outside the U.S. and are citizens of other countries. The information to be shared must be evaluated for possible export control issues prior to the exchange of information, data, technology, software, or equipment. Prior licensing approval may be required.

In general, collaborations between university personnel and scholars at foreign institutions or organizations do not require export licenses unless they involve export controlled or restricted research or involve scholars in sanctioned countries.

Collaboration on-campus with non-U.S. citizen visitors/scientists – Before a foreign visitor or visiting scientist is allowed access to a lab or research project, an export control evaluation must be conducted to make sure the foreign visitor does not have access to export controlled materials, equipment, software, or technology that would require prior licensing approval. Release of controlled technology to foreign persons in the U.S. are “deemed” to be an export to the person’s country or countries of nationality and is found in 734.2(b) of the EAR. Typical organizations using deemed export licenses include universities, high technology research and development institutions, bio-chemical firms, as well as the medical and computer sectors.

Before engaging in an international collaboration, the university needs to determine if export licenses are required and to verify that the foreign individual and/or organization are not blocked or sanctioned entities.

Collaborations with China

Congress held several other hearings this year in which some or all of the focus was concern over undue foreign influence at our universities, particularly from China. Additionally, House and Senate members – both Republicans and Democrats – have taken action related to those concerns. Some illustrative examples include an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill to limit U.S. researcher participation in foreign recruitment programs like China’s “Thousand Talents Program”(this amendment ultimately was not included in the bill); a letter to federal agencies to track institutions that receive funding from Chinese state-controlled technology companies such as Huawei; and letters to many academic institutions urging closure of Confucius Institutes. It is important to note that the concerns come from members of both political parties; this is not a phenomenon of the current administration even though the president has certainly put China in the spotlight.

The FBI has issued this notice in March 2018 on Chinese risks to academic research.

Publishing & Marketing General License

In 2007, OFAC granted a general license that specifically allows for activities in support of publishing and/or marketing of informational materials with sanctioned countries Iran, Cuba, Sudan, and Burma. As authorized under this license, U.S. persons can freely engage in activities that are “necessary and ordinarily incident to the publishing and marketing of manuscripts, books, journals, and newspapers in paper or electronic format…” This general license allows university personnel to participate in any activity that is part of the normal academic peer-review or publishing process. However, it does not allow for these activities to occur if the foreign person(s) involved is a governmental official, or represents or is working on behalf of the government of the sanctioned country. For the purposes of this license, academic and research institutions and their personnel are not considered governmental employees or their representatives.

It is important to note that this general license does not allow for or authorize the provision of any customized or consulting services. Such activities would still require a separate governmental authorization or license.

International students and visitors

Deemed Exports

According to the government, the deemed export rule is basically the release of controlled technology and/or information to a non-U.S. person regardless of where the export takes place. A non-U.S. person can be a foreign national, a foreign government entity, a foreign company, a foreign military, or anyone who is not legally considered a U.S person under the terms of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Once technology is released to the foreign national, the U.S. government considers it “deemed” to be an export to the individual’s home country.

Even the slightest exposure of technology or information to any foreign national can trigger the deemed export rule and cause a violation of U.S. export regulations. Such a release could cause criminal and civil penalties as well as imprisonment for employees involved in the violation.

Release of controlled technology to foreign persons in the U.S. are “deemed” to be an export to the person’s country or countries of nationality and is found in 734.2(b) of the EAR. Typical organizations using deemed export licenses include universities, high technology research and development institutions, bio-chemical firms, as well as the medical and computer sectors. Note that those organizations having persons with permanent residence status, U.S. citizenship, and persons granted status as “protected individual” are exempt from the deemed export rule. (https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/policy-guidance/deemed-exports)

Many of the licenses for deemed exports involve those conducting scientific research. Note that under 734.8 of the EAR, fundamental research is defined as “basic and applied research in science and engineering where the resulting information is ordinarily published and shared broadly within the scientific community” and, as such, is exempt from EAR licensing requirements. Research conducted using publically available information is also exempt from any license requirements.

Tours & Visitors in your Lab

Before a foreign visitor or visiting scientist is allowed access to a controlled lab or research project, an export control evaluation must be conducted to make sure the foreign visitor does not have access to export controlled materials, equipment, software, or technology that would require prior licensing approval.

Screening Foreign National Individuals and Entities

Visual Compliance is the resource currently utilized to screen international visitors who come to UNCG’s campus. Contact the University ECO as far in advance as possible for any international visitors. Additional information on screening activities for export compliance can be found here.