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PCB-Oct2014

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26 The PCB Magazine • October 2014 f e a t u r e by Fern Abrams iPC New Regulations Clarify U.S. Export Controls for Defense PCBs On July 1, 2014, the U.S. Department of State issued a final rule for Category XI (Military Electronics) of the United States Munitions List (USML). The new rule states that PCBs "specially designed" for International Traffic in Arms Regu- lations (ITAR) covered defense articles are con- trolled under USML Category XI. This is a signifi- cant win for IPC members in the U.S. who have advocated for the specific enumeration of PCBs on the USML to clarify and highlight the impor- tance of export controls on PCBs for defense ar- ticles. Why the Change was Needed It is widely understood within our industry that printed boards for ITAR items are sometimes inappropriately sourced from non-ITAR facilities without necessary export licenses. It is believed that, with few exceptions, non-compliance is a result of genuine unawareness of the law, as it pertains to printed boards manufactured for ITAR-controlled defense items. Confusion over the application of ITAR to PCBs stems from two main sources. First, because defense equipment itself is often not exported, some manufacturers falsely believe that export controls don't apply. This is simply not true. Be - cause one must "export" designs and other intel- lectual property in order to manufacture PCBs outside the U.S., export controls do apply if the boards are destined for ITAR-controlled defense items. Second, many manufacturers are confused by the historical regulation of PCBs as parts and components that are "specifically designed" for USML listed items. The ambiguous regulation of printed boards—on the USML under a catchall pertaining to "specifically designed" parts and components—has led to widespread confusion, especially among those responsible for sourcing printed boards who don't understand that each PCB is uniquely designed for its end item. Because PCBs historically were not enumer - ated on the USML, understanding their regula- tory status required an understanding of both ITAR and the unique nature of PCBs. The previ- ous law was clear only to those who understand both ITAR and the specially designed nature of printed boards. If a person mistakenly believes— as we have found many do—that printed boards are commercial-off-the-shelf components, then that person might believe printed boards are not covered by ITAR. ITAR Protection of PCBs is Critical to National Security The sourcing of PCBs for ITAR electronics from non-ITAR facilities is a threat to national se - curity. In order to manufacture a PCB, the manu- facturing facility must be given designs and other sensitive information about the workings of the

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