US Imposes New Sanctions on Cuba – Affect on Aircraft Parts Exports is Unclear

The President announced today that the United States would impose new sanctions on Cuba.  Rough details are available through the White House Fact Sheet, but we are still awaiting complete details.  It is unclear what effect this might have on current licenses to sell aircraft parts to entities in Cuba, which are permitted under BIS policy.  ASA will continue to monitor this situation to ascertain whether the new sanctions adversely affect aircraft parts export licenses.

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Doing Business With Iran Under a JCPOA License? Get Your Transactions Completed by August 6, 2018.

As we reported on May 8, the United States’ decision to end the JCPOA agreement with Iran means that existing JCPOA-based licenses will be revoked on August 6.  A number of ASA members have these export licenses, which permit aircraft-parts-business with the specified Iranian parties.

On May 8, the President announced his decision to discontinue the United States’ participation in the Agreement with Iran, and to reimpose sanctions against Iran.

The Treasury has published a document explaining the wind-down process, including answers to frequently asked questions.  The wind-down document explains that the United States government plans to revoke JCPOA-related authorizations, such as the aircraft and aircraft parts-related export licenses that were issued pursuant to the US-Iran Agreement.  Those export licenses are scheduled to be terminated as of August 6, 2018.

Those ASA members who hold JCPOA export licenses (which are being terminated) may consider applying for replacement licenses under the safety of flight statement of licensing policy found in 31 C.F.R. § 560.528. That provision permits licenses on a case-by-case basis for exporting to Iran in order to ensure the safety of civil aviation and safe operation of U.S.-origin commercial passenger aircraft.  Historically, the United States government has not issued many of these licenses, but if the transaction is valuable to the United States then the transaction might be considered for licensing.

The New “600 Series” ECCNs Effective Today!

As of today, October 15, a significant change to the export regulations will remove many articles from the ITARs and move them to the Commerce Department’s export jurisdiction.  This is a tremendous benefit for the civil aviation industry, which has found it difficult at times to correctly classify parts under the right export regime.  This change means that most dual use items (article used on both civil and defense aircraft) are transferred to the export jurisdiction of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) where they will be regulated under the Export Administration Regulations (EARs).

Note that the rule change was largely aimed at aircraft parts, and non-aviation items may not be affected by this change.

So after the change, which aircraft parts remain subject to Directorate of Defense Trade Control (DDTC) export jurisdiction? Here is a partial list:

  • Certain enumerated articles (and their parts) that are specially designed for controlled aircraft:
  • Inertial Navigation Systems (INS)
  • Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs)
  • Attitude and Heading Reference Systems (AHRS)
  • Parts for DoD-funded developmental aircraft
  • Parts for B-1B, B-2, F-15SE, F/A-18E/F/G [parts for earlier models are subject to the EAR], F-22, F-35, F-117
  • Parts found in a positive list:
  • List is published at 22 C.F.R. 121.1 – VIII(h)
  • List includes articles with defense-specific purposes, like:
    • Threat-adaptive flight control systems;
    • Wing folding systems;
    • Certain high velocity gearboxes;
    • Defense-specific parts, like tail hooks, wing folding systems and bomb racks;
    • Certain technical related to export-controlled items;
    • Classified items;
    • “Commodities, software, and technical data subject to the EAR (§ 120.42 of this subchapter) used in or with defense articles controlled in this category.”

These above-referenced parts remain on the United States Munition List (USML), which is part of the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITARs).  So their exports will continue to be subject to ITAR control.  But what is important is what is no longer on this list!

Parts that were previously described on the USML and were thus subject to DDTC/ITAR export jurisdiction but that are now moved to BIS/EAR jurisdiction have mostly been moved to the 600 series Export Commodity Classification Numbers (ECCNs).  These are ECCNs with the number “6” in the middle spot of the five-character ECCN. The 600-series is designated for Wassenaar Arrangement Munitions List (WAML) articles and for former USML articles.

As of today, the Commerce Control List (CCLs) on the Commerce Department website did not include the 600-series ECCNs, and the fact that the government is shut down suggests that they might not be updated soon.  But you can still see the new ECCNs by looking at the Federal Register publication of the final rule.

Many aircraft parts that are no longer regulated under the DDTC ITARs are moved to ECCN 9A610.  If an article remains on the USML, like an Attitude and Heading Reference Systems (AHRS), then its unclassified software may have moved to a BIS/EAR 600 series ECCN; the unclassified software and technology indirectly related to such USML articles move to new ECCNs 9D610/9E610 (aircraft software/technology) or 9D619/9E619 (engine software/technology).  There is also new ECCN for military commodities outside the US that are derived from “600 series” controlled content (ECCN 0A919 – Category 0 includes miscellaneous items).

In some cases, the precise placement of an article may depend on whether it is “specially designed” for 600-series articles or for non-600 series articles.  BIS has provided an online decision tree-based tool to help with the “specially designed” determination and it is available at http://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/specially-designed-tool.

Licenses from BIS will still be required to export and reexport most 600 series items worldwide (except to Canada), unless an EAR license exception is available.  If you have an article that was subject to the DDTC/ITAR jurisdiction and has been moved to BIS/EAR jurisdiction, then your existing ITAR licenses may remain valid.  Details on how this works and when your license may remain valid are available in last week’s post about grandfathering existing export licenses.

Got questions?  ASA provides export training through its workshops and through its Annual Conference.  We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events!  The Washington Aviation Group continues to provide export legal advice.  So if you need to get really creative, please give the Washington Aviation Group a call and let them work with you to find a solution.

Exporting During the Shutdown

The Federal Government continues to be shut down while our elected officials debate how to tackle our nation’s debt.  This has the potential to adversely affect exports, so it is important to have strategies for ensuring you can export in the absence of new licenses.

As a result of the shutdown, the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is no longer accepting export license applications.  All pending export license applications are being held without action by BIS until the shutdown ends.  This can have a significant effect on some distributors who need export licenses in order to support their customer base.

If you are an applicant who needs a license for national security reasons, then you can request emergency processing of your export license application by submitting an email request to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Export Administration Matthew Borman at Matthew.Borman@bis.doc.gov; however most civil aviation export licenses are not related to national security.

So what can you do to support a non-US customer need for parts that does NOT have national security implications, but that would ordinarily require a license?

The best way to approach the transaction is to think about how to structure it to make use of a license exception.  There are a number of license exceptions that can apply to common aircraft parts transactions, including the Replacement Parts/Servicing and Replacement Exception [RPL] (15 C.F.R. 740.10) and the Aircraft and Vessel Exception [AVS] (15 C.F.R. 740.15).  We’ve covered the use of these exceptions in ASA Workshops and during the ASA Annual Conference, but if you’ve missed the presentations, then we ordinarily advise potential exception-users to read the regulatory language carefully before using the exceptions.  Make sure that you can meet each and every requirement for the use of the exceptions.

For example, use of the AVS exception is often limited based on details related to the aircraft on which the part is expected to be installed. If the aircraft on which the part is to be installed is identified, then you should collect the following information:

  • The country in which the aircraft is located, and
  • The country in which the aircraft is registered, or will be registered in the case of an aircraft being manufactured, and
  • The country of citizenship of whoever currently owns, controls, leases, and/or charters the aircraft (more the one country may be implicated by this analysis).

These data will serve as an important foundation for the analysis implied by the requirements for the AVS exception.

If no exception would apply to your transaction, then another option might be to find someone with an existing license that will permit the export of your article, and include that party in your transaction as the exporter of record.  While you cannot use a third party exporter for purposes that circumvent the law (for example, a Denied Party cannot use a third party to circumvent their Denied Party status), it is permissible to sell the parts to an intermediary and have the intermediary export to your customer under the intermediary’s existing (applicable) license, as long as it is not for the purpose of circumventing legal prohibitions that would have prohibited you from getting a license.  The danger of this advice is that an intermediary who is also a copmetitor may use this as an opportunity to steal customers, so be careful to only deal with an intermediary whose business ethics are trustworthy.

Once you are in a position to be able export, you may run into some problems in assembling the data that you need to complete the electronic export information requirements on AESDIrect.  For example, the the Schedule B search engine on http://www.census.gov is not available. During this time you may use the following alternate address to identify schedule B numbers: https://uscensus.prod.3ceonline.com/.

As always, the Washington Aviation Group continues to provide export advice.  So if you need to get really creative, please give the Washington Aviation Group a call and let them work with you to find a solution.

Another issue that is facing the industry is the new release of the 600-series ECCNs that becomes effective tomorrow (to facilitate the movement of certain articles from the US Munitions List (USML) to the Commerce Control Lists (CCLs).  We will talk about that in tomorrow’s blog post.

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