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Export Control Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the purpose of the export control regulations?

The United States, like most countries, has laws which control the export of certain products and technologies for strategic reasons. Those reasons include the prevention of the following:

  • Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD),
  • Proliferation of nuclear capabilities,
  • Equipping enemy forces, or
  • Support for terrorism.

What do the export control regulations regulate?

There are several different export control regulations, but the 3 most likely to impact university activity are those of the State Department (ITAR), the Commerce Department (EAR), and the Treasury Department (OFAC). The State Department and Commerce Department control items, including products, equipment, devices, organisms, components, parts, materials, software, etc. that the US (and often other countries) considers to be of military value, important to national security, capable of contributing to proliferation of missile or nuclear capability or to development of chemical or biological weapons, or of potential use in terrorism or disrupting regional stability. They also control equipment and materials required to make controlled items, as well as software and information required to develop, produce, or use controlled items.

The Commerce Department also restricts export of items to designated entities and individuals, or for purposes such as weapon or missile development.

The Treasury Department controls the assets of sanctioned countries and designated individuals, as well as interactions with those parties.

What do the export control regulations not regulate?

There is a great deal of university information that is not subject to export control regulations. Examples include:

  • Results of Fundamental Research
  • Information that is already published or in the public domain
  • Information that is released in University courses or associated teaching laboratories
  • Business sensitive information that may be shared with Purdue personnel under a confidentiality agreement or confidentiality terms within a project agreement, such as business plans, customer lists, pricing. While not subject to export control regulations, this type of information does need to be safeguarded (see best practices for safeguarding external confidential information)

How might export control regulations impact me?

Export control regulations apply to technical information as well as physical items — and when controlled information is given to a Foreign Person it's considered to be an export to that person's country, even if it happens in the US, even if it happens on a university campus. If you collaborate with people in other countries, your emails are exports. When you travel, you're exporting everything you take with you. And, of course, you're exporting when you ship an item outside the US. These could all lead to export control violations with consequences for you and for Purdue.

What university activities are impacted by export control regulations?

  • Performing Controlled or Proprietary Research
  • Performing Research Outside the United States
  • Traveling Outside the United States
  • Presenting at Conferences Outside the United States
  • Hosting International Visitors
  • Shipping Equipment, Software or Technical Information Internationally
  • Engaging in international Collaborations or Partnerships
  • Paying someone in another country for items or services
  • Advising Students from Countries subject to U.S. comprehensive sanctions

When considering export control compliance, are there activities to avoid?


  • Discuss non-public domain technology with foreign companies and foreign nationals without first consulting the Export Controls Team (
  • Take controlled technology out of the United States without completing an export review
  • Travel to countries/regions subject to U.S. comprehensive sanctions without understanding the specific sanctions that apply. The Export Controls Team can help you with that.
  • Share confidential/proprietary information received under a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement with a foreign national employee without first consulting with the Export Controls Team.

Is a deemed export license required in order for a foreign person to operate controlled equipment in research projects, classes and teaching labs on campus?

Not necessarily. Keep in mind that the deemed export rule does not regulate the operation of controlled equipment. Rather, it is the release to a foreign person of export controlled “use” technology that may have deemed export licensing implications, and “Use” technology includes ALL of the elements of “Use” as defined in the EAR Part 772 (i.e. operation, installation, maintenance, repair, refurbishing and overhaul).

If the foreign person has access only to the technology that is necessary to operate the export controlled equipment, a release of “Use” technology has not occurred and no deemed export license requirement is triggered.

Exception: EAR 600 series (ECCN nx6nn) - The EAR 600 series includes items and technology that were previously controlled under the ITAR, but are now subject to the EAR (e.g. 3E661 Technology “required” for military electronics).

As the 600 series items and technology were previously controlled on the USML, the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State determined that the ‘Use' technology controls needed to be more robust for these ECCNs. The solution devised was for Commerce to specifically identify the individual elements of ‘Use' Technology that need to be controlled under each 600 Series Technology ECCN. Therefore, in the 600 series ECCNs it is no longer necessary that all 6 elements of ‘Use' be transferred in order for a license or other authorization to be required. In some cases, transfer of a single element may necessitate a license.

For example, ECCN 3E611 reads as follows:
3E611 Technology “required” for military electronics, as follows (see List of Items Controlled).

  • a. “Technology” (other than that described in 3E611.b or 3E611.y) “required” for the “development,” “production,” operation, installation, maintenance, repair, overhaul, or refurbishing of commodities or software controlled by ECCN 3A611, 3B611 or 3D611.

If you believe the foreign person's activities will amount to a release of “Use” technology, as described above, or the equipment is a defense article listed on the USML and subject to the ITAR or an EAR 600 Series item, consult with the Export Controls Team for further guidance.

Need Help?

Contact the Purdue Export Controls team by email at, by phone at (765) 494-6840, or in person on the 10th floor of Young Hall (155 S Grant St.).

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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