Export Controls and Trade Sanctions

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Export controls refers to a collection of federal laws and regulations that, for reasons relating to national security, economic competitiveness, or implementation of trade sanctions against specific countries, limit the export of physical items, technology, data, and information out of the U.S. national security or economic reasons. This includes deemed export, which can occur when foreign nationals have access to materials in the U.S.

What is essential?

Most research at Lehigh is fundamental research. Fundamental research is basic or applied research, the results of which are intended to be shared broadly with the academic community. Fundamental research is excluded from export control requirements, and export controls do not apply to results or to ideas exchanged in the conduct of fundamental research. However, the fundamental research exclusion does not apply when a federal sponsor places certain restrictions on a project.

In addition, certain materials and information (e.g. certain software) used in work or during travel may be subject to export controls, including restricted access by foreign nationals.

Why it’s Important

There can be substantial consequences for violating export control laws/regulations and trade sanctions, including federal criminal charges and civil proceedings leading to financial penalties.

How to Comply

Compliance with export control requirements involves:

  • knowing when you are in possession of materials that are subject to export controls and limiting access accordingly.
  • knowing when the subject matter of a research project is subject to export controls and, if so, limiting who is involved in the research and has access to data or materials.
  • being aware of limitations and applying best practices when traveling, including care with regard to software and data you take with you or access while traveling.

Recognize when a project is not fundamental research and is thus subject to export controls. When a grant award or contract includes conditions such as limiting participation of foreign nationals, screening of publications, or limitations of disclosure of research results, ORSP will refer the PI to Research Integrity for guidance on implementation of necessary controls.

In some circumstances, the University may be required to obtain prior approval from the appropriate federal agency before allowing foreign nationals to participate in research, collaborate with a foreign company, or share research results with foreign nationals. Your Contract and Grant Specialist in ORSP will be able to assist you in review of the terms and conditions of your award to determine any required approvals.

Understand restrictions, and use best practices, when traveling. LTS will provide consultation on what software is allowable according to where you are traveling, and proper means of accessing your data and university systems, and can provide travel-appropriate loaner hardware.

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