Proposed U.S. exports regulations would affect optics and photonics industry

Learn about why a proposed rule published in the U.S. Federal Register on May 5, 2015 will have an impact on the U.S. optics and photonics industry both now, and into the future.

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A proposed rule published in the U.S. Federal Register on May 5, 2015 contains changes to U.S. Munitions List (USML) Category XII of the International Traffic in Arums Regulations (ITAR) that would have a direct impact on the U.S. optics and photonics industry both now, and into the future.

The rewrite to Category XII (Fire Control, Range Finder, Optical and Guidance Control Equipment) is part of an overarching Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative undertaken by the Administration, according to Jennifer Douris, a lobbyist for SPIE, and a member of the Sensors and Instrumentation Technical Advisory Committee (SITAC) of the Bureau of Industry and Security in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Category XII covers many of the optics and photonics commodities and components controlled under ITAR.

Specifically, the proposed rule describes "how articles the President determines no longer warrant control under Category XII of the USML of ITAR would be controlled under the Commerce Control List (CCL) by creating new “600 series” Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN)s 6A615, 6B615 and 6D615 for military fire control, range finder, and optical items, by revising ECCN 7A611 and by creating new ECCNs 7B611, 7C611 and 7E611 for military optical and guidance items."

In addition, for certain night vision items currently subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), this rule proposes to expand the scope of control, eliminate the use of some license exceptions, and create new ECCNs for certain software and technology related to night vision items. This proposed rule would also expand the scope of end-use restrictions on certain exports and reexports of certain cameras, systems, or equipment and expand the scope of military commodities described in ECCN 0A919.

With the release of the proposed rule, the USDC has also opened a 60-day open comment period, which SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, is urging those within the (U.S.) industry to consider. Exporters, manufacturers, and researchers in the optics and photonics industry will have the opportunity to potentially influence revisions in regulations that control photonics exports by utilizing the comment period.

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