Export Control Act

Export Control Act

Summary of Export Control Act

An act of Congress passed in 1949 requiring that all commercial exports from the United States be licensed. Authority was granted to the president to devise specific regulations to control exports; this authority has been delegated to the Secretary of Commerce. The regulations subsequently developed constitute the Export Control Program administered by the Department of Commerce. Exports are divided into two categories: those requiring general license and those requiring a validated license. Exports subject to general license cover a wide range of nonstrategic products destined for friendly countries. An actual license per se is not required; authority for anyone to export such products to nonproscribed countries is granted in a blanket notice published in the Comprehensive Export Schedules, issued by the Commerce Department. A validated license is a written authorization from the appropriate government agency to conduct an export transaction not covered by the general license granted in the Comprehensive Export Schedules. In the case of some products (e.g., arms, narcotics) a validated license is required for any exportation, irrespective of destination. In other cases, it is not the product but the destination that is regulated (e.g., all shipments to Cuba); in a few instances, both the product and destination are controlled.

The act was originally designed as a temporary measure but was extended in 1951, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1962, and 1965. In 1969, it was superseded by the Export Administration Act, which continued substantially the form and practices of the earlier act; this legislation was extended in 1972, in 1974, and again in 1984.

(Main Author: William J. Miller)

In the United States

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