University of Hawai‘i
Research Compliance

About Export Controls

Export Controls

University of Hawai‘i (UH) faculty, staff and students, as well as RCUH employees hired to support UH-related programs (collectively referred to as “UH community”), are likely to come into contact with federal regulations that impose access, dissemination or participation restrictions on the use and/or transfer of commodities, technical data, or the provision of services subject to United States (US) export controls for reasons of national security, foreign policy, anti-terrorism or non-proliferation. Therefore, the UH community must be cognizant of US export control laws and regulations and be prepared to take the necessary steps to ensure compliance.

What is the Office of Export Controls?

The Office of Export Controls (OEC) is tasked with certain administrative processes that are primarily related to restricted research (i.e., export-controlled and/or classified research) and other related business activities of the University of Hawai‘i (UH). OEC serves as the main resource for UH administrators, researchers, and other faculty and staff who are involved with research projects and business matters which require the review and execution of certain types of unfunded contractual agreements that may be subject to various U.S. laws and regulations. OEC is responsible for assisting researchers in complying with complex and ever-changing U.S. laws and regulations which regulate certain strategic information, technology, and services, through training, providing advice and classification assistance, preparing and submitting license applications to Federal agencies, conducting assessments, and administering applicable UH policies and procedures.

Contact the UH Office of Export Controls (OEC) for any questions pertaining to export control scenarios, interpretation of regulations or UH policy, to request export licenses, or to schedule departmental training.

Special Topics

The following special topics may apply to your activities. You should consult with OEC regarding these:

Foreign Influence in University Research

US Government agencies have shared their growing concerns with respect to inappropriate actions by foreign adversaries at the university level, and have expressed their dedication to protect US research and innovation. Thus, academic institutions have an increasing responsibility for faculty members to disclose their connections with foreign governments and entities. The University of Hawaii promotes and encourages international collaboration, while emphasizing the importance for investigators to be open and transparent in regards to their foreign relationships and activities.

Read more: Foreign Influence in University Research


Encryption technology, particularly strong encryption, is highly regulated for export purposes and the source code and object code of such encryption may not be shared with Foreign Nationals without getting specific export licenses. Many of the exemptions from export controls that are afforded to university research are not applicable to sharing encryption technology.

Select Agents and Toxins

Physical exports as well as deemed exports pertaining to biological materials, chemicals, microorganisms and toxins can be export-controlled. Read the Memo Regarding Select Agents and Toxins (October 10, 2014) regarding the importance of compliance.

Department of Defense Development Funding

The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) covers certain development activities undertaken as a result of Department of Defense funding. Read the Memo Regarding Department of Defense Awards (May 26, 2015) for additional information.


Deemed Export

Deemed Export refers to the release of export-controlled technical data, technology, and/or source code, to a Foreign National, whether in the US or abroad, as such a release is deemed to have been exported to the Foreign National’s home country(ies). Deemed Exports can occur through visual or oral disclosures.

Defense Service

Defense Service means “the furnishing of assistance (including training) whether in the US or abroad in the design, development, engineering, manufacture, production, assembly, testing, repair, maintenance, modification, operation, demilitarization, destruction, processing or use of a Defense Article.” A Defense Service also includes the furnishing to Foreign Persons any Technical Data which is required for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance and modification of Defense Articles. Defense Articles are identified on ITAR’s USML.

Export Controls

Export Controls are US Export Control Laws and Regulations that restrict the export of certain Technology or Technical Data, commodities, or software (“Export-Controlled Items”) to a foreign country or to a Foreign National, whether that foreign national is inside or outside the US. As such, a license or other type of government authorization may be required for:

  1. The export of “Export-Controlled Items,” which include:
    1. Defense articles enumerated on the US Munitions List (USML), 22 CFR § 121; and/or
    2. Commodities enumerated on the Commerce Control List (CCL), 15 CFR § 774, Supplement No. 1;
  2. The provision of services for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of a defense article to a foreign country or Foreign National; and/or
  3. Exports to (including travel) or financial transactions with Sanctioned Countries, Parties of Concern, and/or Specially Designated Nationals.
Export Control Classification Number

Export Control Classification Number (“ECCN” or collectively “ECCNs”) is a five character alpha-numeric code which identifies the type of technology and capabilities of certain Export-Controlled Items which, in combination with the country of destination, entity, and the end-use, determine if an Export License is required for a specific export, or whether an Export-Controlled Item can be exported without an Export License. The ECCN must be determined prior to export.

ECCNs are assigned to commodities and technology controlled for export purposes by EAR and are found on the CCL. (See Categories 0 – 9.)

Export-Controlled Items and Technical Data controlled by ITAR are found on the USML. These are not assigned an ECCN, but rather, a munitions category number ranging from I to XXI (one to twenty-one). For convenience, this Administrative Procedure uses the term “ECCN” to refer to classifications for all Export-Controlled Items, Technology and Technical Data, even those on the USML.

Items or technology not regulated by either ITAR or EAR, are designated by the ECCN “EAR99” and can be exported to any country in the world without an Export License, except for a US Embargoed Country.

Export License

An Export License is a document stating that the relevant US Government agency has granted the licensee the right to export an Export-Controlled Item, Technology or Technical Data to a specific country, specific end-user, and for a specific purpose. An Export License is not transferable to any other country or end-user than those specifically named in the Export License. An Export License issued by one US Government agency is not transferable for export activities regulated by any other US Government agency.

Foreign National

A Foreign National (also referred to as a “foreign person”) is any person who is not a citizen or national of the US, unless that person has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence or is a “protected individual” designated as an asylee, refugee, or temporary resident under amnesty provisions, as defined by the US Immigration and Naturalization Act. The definition includes foreign corporations, foreign governments and any agency or subdivisions of foreign governments (e.g. diplomatic missions).

Parties of Concern

Parties of Concern are individuals, entities, and organizations that have had their export privileges revoked by the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security and/or the US Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. “Specially Designated Nationals” are individuals, entities, and organizations that are owned or controlled by or are acting on behalf of targeted or sanctioned countries, and have had their assets blocked by the US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control. Lists of Parties of Concern and Specially Designated Nationals are maintained by the aforementioned federal agencies, and also include US citizens and entities.

Sanctioned Countries

Sanctioned Countries are those countries targeted by the US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control for asset and trade restrictions, to accomplish US foreign policy and national security goals. Sanctioned countries include those which the US imposes a full trade embargo on, known as “Embargoed Countries.” Currently those countries are: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.


Technology or Technical Data refers to technical information beyond general or basic marketing materials about an Export-Controlled Item. The terms do not refer to the controlled item itself, or to the type of information contained in publicly available user manuals. Rather, the terms Technology and Technical Data mean specific information necessary for the development, production, or use of an Export-Controlled Item.