The U.S. Departments of Commerce and State have proposed regulations that affect export controls on certain products, specifically certain LiDAR, aerial imaging, and positioning systems. These controls will make it more difficult for U.S. manufacturers to sell their systems to customers in other countries and U.S. service firms to deploy their instruments and systems in other countries for use on overseas projects.
Earlier this month MAPPS convened a conference call where it was agreed the association will submit comments on the Export Control Reform rule. Don Carswell of TeledyneOptech, chair of the MAPPS Associate Members Committee, has taken the lead in researching and analyzing the proposed rules and their implications for MAPPS firms.
His findings indicate the proposed rules seek to simplify and clarify section 12, but not expand its reach to new classes of instruments. For example, under the reforms if the ITAR rule applies to an instrument, it applies to both a manufacturer selling an instrument to an overseas customer, as well as a service firm seeking to deploy an instrument for its own use in a foreign country.
MAPPS member Fugro has gone through the approval process on its GeoSAR instrument. It requires considerable paperwork, and about a 30 day approval period. Harris has had a similar experience, with a 4-6 week turnaround on an application.
ITAR rules apply regardless of the country the instrument is going to, except that there are certain export bans (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, etc) and a simpler process for some allied countries, particularly Canada. Currently, there are temporary (service firms for a project, with the instrument promptly coming back to the U.S.) and permanent (sale of an item, with no expected return) licenses.
Several recommendations are being considered for the MAPPS comment. MAPPS is considering a petition for an exemption. It’s been suggested that MAPPS should seek a "dual use" (military and non-military) classification. As the rule stands now, Optech believes its LiDAR instruments are not subject to ITAR provisions, but its IMU is. If the rule is modified, a non-ITAR instrument could be subject to ITAR rules.
While many instruments used in geospatial applications are not covered under the current rule, LiDAR, imagery, positioning and UAV are all mentioned in the propose rule. Members should read the rule carefully to determine the extent of coverage to instruments used.
TeledyneOptech has drafted comments regarding USML Category XII and ITAR Category XII.
MAPPS is seeking further comments from members. Comments should provide specific recommendations for language, including revisions or alternatives.
The deadline for comments is July 2. Please provide your input and feedback to me, with copies to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.