Export Control Regulations

In order to ensure compliance with export control regulations, it is critically important for Ohio State personnel to identify when their activities may trigger export controls. When export controls may apply, work with the Office of Secure Research to obtain any required governmental licenses, monitor and control access to restricted information, and safeguard all controlled materials.

Ohio State seeks to comply with applicable export control regulations in all university activities including innovative research and collaborative efforts to further the creation and dissemination of knowledge for the public good while simultaneously protecting national security, advancing economic interests and supporting United States foreign policy objectives.

What do Ohio State personnel need to do?

  • Be familiar with the Export Control Policy;
  • Identify when your activities may trigger export controls by reviewing University Activities;
  • Engage the Office of Secure Research for support; and
  • Immediately report any suspected or actual violations of export control regulations or the Export Control Policy to the Office of Secure Research or report anonymously through EthicsPoint. If your activity is subject to a Technology Control Plan, you must immediately report any known or suspected violations of the TCP and/or export control regulations to the Office of Secure Research.

What are Export Controls?

Export Controls are federal regulations that govern the transfer of certain items, technology, and services to foreign persons in the United States and abroad. They are established to:

  • Protect United States national security
  • Advance United States economic interests
  • Further United States foreign policy objectives

An export is the transfer or release of a controlled item, technology, or service, to a foreign person or destination. While Ohio State is transferring and releasing technology to foreign persons regularly, the university does not often interact with controlled items, technology or services. The Office of Secure Research identifies when Ohio State works with controlled items, technology or services to ensure that export control regulations are followed.

In some cases, exports may require express written permission from the United States government, known as an export license. Non-compliance with export controls can result in severe monetary and criminal penalties against both an individual as well as the university, and can result in fines, jail time, loss of export privileges, the loss of research contracts, and reputational damage.

All Three Instances Must Apply for an Export to Occur

How are Export Controls regulated?

The United States Department of State, United States Department of Commerce and United States Department of the Treasury are the main federal bodies that have regulatory oversight for export controls in the United States.

Overseeing United States Department Department of State Department of Commerce Department of the Treasury
Empowered Agency Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
Legal Basis Arms Export Control Act (1976) Export Administration Act (1979)
Export Control Reform Act (2018)
International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)
Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA)
Other legislation
Executive Orders
Regulations International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) Export Administration Regulations (EAR) Foreign Assets Control Regulations (FACR)
Scope Permanent and temporary exports, and temporary imports of:
– Defense articles
– Defense services
– Technical Data
Permanent and temporary exports, reexports, and retransfers (in-country) or:
– Commodities
– Software
– Technology
Services of value to certain countries, regimes and other parties on which economic and trade sanctions have been issued.
Control List United States Munitions List (USML) Commerce Control List (CCL) OFAC Sanctions Lists
Classifications USML Categories Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) Sanctions Programs
Restrictiveness Most restrictive, but relatively straightforward in application More permissive, but more complex in application Typically restrictive, and typically complex in application; depends on individual sanctions program
Cost of Non-Compliance Civil penalties:


Criminal penalties:

Up to $1 million/violation along with more than 20 years in prison

Civil penalties:

$10,000 to $120,000/violation

Criminal penalties:

$500,000 to $1 million/violation along with up to 10 years in prison

Civil penalties:


Criminal penalties:

Up to 20 years in prison

There are other federal agencies regulating exports in one way or another. Examples include:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
The NRC was established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 and regulates the import and export of nuclear equipment and material. These regulations can be found in 10 CFR Part 110.

Department of Energy
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) within the Energy Department controls assistance to foreign atomic energy activities. The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 is the legal basis for these regulations. These regulations can be found in 10 CFR Part 810. Violations of the Atomic Energy Act may result in fines up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 10 years, or both. If the offense is committed with intent to injure the United States or to aid any foreign nation, the penalty could be up to life imprisonment or a $20,000 fine, or both.

Department of Justice (DOJ)
The DOJ investigates and enforce violations of export control regulations through a variety of its branches including, but not limited to, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). DOJ recommends that when any organization violates export control regulations they: (A) voluntarily self-disclose the violations; (B) fully cooperate with the National Security Division (NSD); and (C) appropriately remediate in a timely fashion.

Deemed Exports

A deemed export occurs when controlled technical data or technology is transferred to a foreign person in the United States. Access to, or the use of, a controlled item in the United States may release the technology associated with that controlled item to a foreign person in the form of a deemed export. The ITAR and EAR have separate definitions of when the technology associated with physical items is ‘released’ to another person.

What information is not subject to Export Controls at Ohio State?

The majority of university activity is exempt from export control regulations, but not all of it. The following types of information are exempt from export control regulations:

What information is subject to Export Controls at Ohio State?

Information that does not qualify for one of the above exclusions is controlled. This typically occurs when we receive confidential or proprietary information from an outside party or when we generate information that is subject to access and dissemination controls.

Physical Items

All physical items are subject to export control regulations. Those can be exported in a variety of ways including, but not limited to: hand carrying them out of the United States and shipping them outside of the United States.

Anti-Boycott Regulations

In addition to controlling dual use items, the EAR also prohibits United States participation in certain restrictive trade practices and foreign boycotts.


The Office of Secure Research is responsible for making export determinations for Ohio State and can provide training as needed. View our training page for additional information on training. Contact us at exportcontrol@osu.edu for questions.