The U.S. announced Dec. 8 new restrictions on exports to Cambodia due to concerns about corruption and human rights abuses as well as China’s growing military influence. The restrictions come just weeks after the federal government warned U.S. companies doing business in that country about similar problems.

The Bureau of Industry and Security has issued a final rule that, effective Dec. 9, imposes new restrictions on exports and reexports to Cambodia, and in-country transfers within Cambodia, of sensitive items subject to the Export Administration Regulations. According to BIS, this rule (1) adds Cambodia to Country Group D:5 (U.S. arms embargoed countries), (2) imposes a more restrictive review policy for license applications containing items controlled for national security, regardless of the end-user, (3) renders end-users in Cambodia ineligible for, or subject to further restriction with regard to, use of certain license exceptions for exports, reexports, and in-country transfers, and (4) subjects Cambodia to military end-use and military end-user restrictions under the EAR. Applications to export or reexport items to Cambodia for both sets of end-users or end-uses (military and military-intelligence) will be reviewed under a presumption of denial.

Concurrently, the Department of State has issued a final rule that, also effective Dec. 9, imposes a U.S. arms embargo on Cambodia. This rule reflects that it is now U.S. policy to deny all licenses and other approvals to export and import defense articles and services originating in or destined for Cambodia, with certain exceptions related to conventional weapons destruction and humanitarian demining activities. This rule also precludes the use of exemptions from licensing or other approval requirements.

BIS states that together these actions will restrict access to dual-use items, as well as certain less-sensitive military items, under its jurisdiction, as well as defense articles and services under State’s jurisdiction, to the Cambodian military, military-intelligence services, and related entities and individuals.

For more information on these new export restrictions, please contact attorney Kristine Pirnia via email.

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