All About Flex: ITAR Registration


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Vendors building product for the defense industry often stipulate a supplier needs to be ITAR registered. ITAR stands for International Traffic in Arms Regulations and is a program run by the U.S. government to control the export of defense-related technology to foreign countries. ITAR regulations require that information related to defense technology only be shared with U.S. citizens, although the State Department can issue special exemptions. Companies and individuals may incur significant fines if they violate this shared information restriction.

Companies selling products requiring an ITAR status need to register and renew their ITAR registration annually. This registration has an associated fee based on 1) the volume of export related to defense technology and 2) the number of years the company has been in the ITAR program.

ITAR registration requires compliance to a list of regulations involving export of applicable products. A company must keep detailed export records for at least five years to comply with the ITAR registration requirements.

Following are some common questions regarding ITAR.

Question: Does ITAR compliance have requirements relating to the company’s quality system? 
Answer: ITAR does not pertain to a company’s quality management; it is only applicable to the control of export and import of applicable products.

Question:  What specific products or services fall under the jurisdiction of ITAR?
Answer: In general, ITAR applies to the following:

  • Defense articles
  • Technical data
  • Defense services

Specifics are detailed in the U.S. munitions list[1].

Question:  Who must register?
Answer:  Any company that manufactures, exports, or brokers defense related products must register even if the company does not export physical products. Registration by itself does not allow a company to export ITAR related products or services, but it is a precondition for export approval.

Question:  What happens if a business is in violation of ITAR?
Answer:  Businesses that are found in violation to ITAR terms and conditions can be subject to significant fines and loss of ITAR registration.

Question:  Is it possible to be ITAR certified?
Answer:  The U.S. government does not provide or recognize ITAR certifications. There are defense contractors that require their vendors to be certified in ITAR. Certification is not provided by the U.S. government, but rather by a recognized certification agency.

Question: Does the U.S. government perform or require ITAR system audits?
Answer:  The U.S. government strongly urges companies to adopt an export compliance program with recommendations listed in this document. However, the U.S. government does not currently perform or require system audits for ITAR compliance.

References

  1. ITAR part 121, munitions list.
  2. Compliance Program Guidelines, Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance.

Dave Becker is vice president of sales and marketing at All Flex Flexible Circuits LLC.

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