Export controls are continuing to proliferate worldwide, particularly in response to concerns about China and Russia, and the U.S. and others are stepping up their efforts to ensure those controls are enforced.

In a June 28 statement the U.S. and its so-called “Five Eyes” partners – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom – announced plans to exchange information related to export control violations, including trends in illicit procurement methods. U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew Axelrod said that through this collaboration the participants “hope to drive additional enforcement outcomes … including detentions, penalties, and public identification of diversionary actors.”

According to a press release from the Bureau of Industry and Security, this initiative aims to build on existing information sharing and other efforts to expand each country’s capacity to “take action to prevent and deter evasion of export controls, including by restricting Russia’s access to technologies that fuel its unlawful invasion of Ukraine.” Participants anticipate that exchanging information on export control violations will enable them “to identify and address export evasion risks and enhance their ability to prevent unauthorized transfers and safeguard collective national security interests.” Specifically, BIS said, this partnership “will significantly enhance the effectiveness of each country’s export control regimes, minimize gaps in enforcement, and foster joint investigations and coordinated enforcement actions.”

The press release said participants are also seeking to strengthen enforcement partnerships with industry as well to further improve the resilience of global supply chains and prevent unauthorized diversion of controlled items.

Earlier in June U.S. federal agency representatives told a congressional hearing that they are “hyper-focused” on enforcing restrictions on exports to China. In May a new interagency strike force announced criminal charges for export violations involving China, Russia, and Iran. And in April BIS announced policy changes designed to encourage exporters to self-report potential export violations, both their own and those of other companies.

For more information on export enforcement efforts and avoiding related problems, please contact attorney Kristine Pirnia at (202) 730-4964 or via email.

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