U.S. controls to bar support of foreign military-intelligence, weapons of mass destruction activities

U.S. controls

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Commerce Department announced new controls regarding U.S. technologies and specific activities of U.S. persons who may be supporting foreign military-intelligence end-uses and end-users in China, Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela as well as those located in “terrorist-supporting countries.”


The Commerce release (January 14, 2021) explains that BIS is also enhancing controls to prevent U.S. persons from supporting unauthorized weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, including weapons delivery systems and production facilities. The new controls prevent U.S. persons from supporting certain foreign military-intelligence services—such as through brokering the sale of foreign-origin items or providing maintenance, repair or overhaul services. 

BIS expanded the license requirement for exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) to military-intelligence end-uses and end-users in China, Russia, and Venezuela (beyond those enumerated items subject to existing military end-use and end-user (MEU) controls) to apply to all items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  These controls will also apply to terrorist-supporting and embargoed countries. 

Similarly, BIS revised end-use controls related to chemical and biological weapons, rocket systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to determine that any U.S. activity related to the operation, installation, maintenance, overhaul, repair or refurbishing of such weapons, rocket systems or UAVs triggers a “catch-all” license requirement, as outlined in the EAR. 

BIS is establishing a framework for informing exporters, re-exporters, and transferors of items subject to the EAR that a license is required for specific transactions intended to circumvent entity list-based license requirements, or for specific foreign parties assisting listed entities in circumventing such license requirements. Read the interim final rule [PDF 343 KB]

These actions are effective March 16, 2021, and are pursuant to the Export Control Reform Act of 2018. 

The foreign military-intelligence organizations affected are located in:

  • Cuba
  • China
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Russia
  • Syria
  • Venezuela

For more information on this topic or to learn more about KPMG’s Trade & Customs Services, contact:

Doug Zuvich
Partner and Global Practice Leader
T: 312-665-1022
E: dzuvich@kpmg.com

John L. McLoughlin
Principal and East Coast Leader
T: 267-256-2614
E: jlmcloughlin@kpmg.com

Andy Siciliano
Partner and National Practice Leader
T: 631-425-6057
E: asiciliano@kpmg.com

Steve Brotherton
Principal and Global Export and Sanctions Leader
T: 415-963-7861
E: sbrotherton@kpmg.com

Luis (Lou) Abad
Principal, Washington National Tax
T: 212-954-3094
E: labad@kpmg.com

Irina Vaysfeld
T: 212-872-2973
E: ivaysfeld@kpmg.com

Amie Ahanchian
T: 202-533-3247
E: aahanchian@kpmg.com

Christopher Young
T: 312-665-3229
E: christopheryoung@kpmg.com

Gisele Belotto
Managing Director
T: 305-913-2779
E: gbelotto@kpmg.com

George Zaharatos
T: 404-222-3292
E: gzaharatos@kpmg.com

Andy Doornaert
Managing Director
T: 313-230-3080
E: adoornaert@kpmg.com

Jessica Libby
Managing Director
T: 612-305-5533
E: jlibby@kpmg.com

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