An official website of the United States government

U.S. Exporters
July 9, 2021

U.S. Sanctions

Information for U.S. Exporters

On the Internet

Both Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) have web pages.

Department of Commerce: Commerce administers the licensing of exports of items which, in addition to a peaceful application, have some military or terrorist application. (These are called “dual-use items”.) For info on licensing of military exports, see “Arms and Munitions” below. In addition to export controls, Commerce is responsible to promote exports and the competitiveness of U.S. products abroad.

(This is the Trade Information Center–“TIC”–with all kinds of info on when and how to go about getting any required license, how to do market research, how to get “export programs guides” for particular countries, and a lot more.)

Department of Treasury: Treasury administers embargoes and assets freezes.

  • Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) program brochures
  • When Treasury is given a new program to administer, it publishes relevant documents within days. For example, when the President’s Executive Order banning new investment in Burma came out, the text of the E.O. was on the internet the next day.
On the Telephone

Department of Commerce: “Exporter Counseling Division” has an automated system that will direct a caller to information on frequent questions like:

  • “How do I apply for a license?
  • How should my product be classified for export?
  • Have Commerce regulations for my product changed?”
  • You can also reach free live export counselors.
  • (dial extension 555 and “0” to reach an export counselor)
  • The same automated Commerce system can link you to another automated system (STELA – direct dial 482-2752) which gives a company on-line access to the status of its license applications.
  • The general Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) switchboard is very well prepared to refer callers to the right office, help line, or web site in Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS): (202) 482-0092
  • Commerce runs Export Seminars to brief exporters on how to tackle the licensing process: to get info or sign up, call 482-6031
  • Commerce ITA has some great services too, from a more “trade promotion/new market development” perspective. Dial 1-800-872-8723 (1-800-USA-TRAD).

The Trade Information Center (TIC) runs an automated “fax on demand” system that lets you request the same info available on their web page (see above), faxed to the number you specify. There’s general information for exporters, and all kinds of specific info by geographical region (sanctions in place, exchange rates, trade statistics, etc.)

You can also get through to an export counselor, by region or industry.

Department of Treasury: OFAC has a free automated “fax on demand” system with such info as the text of law and regulation for embargo countries and other programs that OFAC administers, as well as OFAC program brochures summarizing the controls in place by country, and an updated version of the Specially Designated Nationals list–persons, firms, banks and other organizations associated with terrorism or drugs/money laundering. (202) 622-0077.

White House/Presidential Documents: The text of recent Executive Orders (as well as all kinds of other White House press releases) can be requested free from the White House Publication Fax Line. dial (202) 395-9088.

Arms and Munitions: For information about exporting an item on the US Munitions List (generally, items designed or adapted for military applications), call the office of Defense Trade Controls (DTC) –which is part of the Political-Military bureau at the State Department. DTC has an automated voice mail system. From this number you can request info on commodity jurisdiction (i.e. whether particular items are subject to licensing by State or by the Department of Commerce), how to get forms, compliance issues etc. Dial (703) 875-6644. DTC also has an automated 24-hour system for checking the status of your license application: dial (703) 875-7375.

State Department: The State Department’s Fax on Demand System has information on foreign-policy export controls and export controls based on non-proliferation concerns, on various embargo and sanctions regimes, and the text of State Department speeches and statements on these (and other) topics. Dial (202) 736-7720 from a fax machine (or if dialing from within the U.S., you may call from any touchtone phone and direct the fax to any fax machine).