ITAR stands for “International Traffic in Arms Regulations.” It is overseen by the Department of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), part of the U.S. Department of State.
To paraphrase the general rule: before a U.S. person may export or temporarily import a “defense article” or “defense service” to or from a foreign person, it must obtain approval from the DDTC.
Companies that violate ITAR face potentially severe penalties:
- Civil: maximum $500,000 per violation; possible revocation of export privileges; possible debarment.
- Criminal: maximum 10 years imprisonment; maximum $1M per violation.
The scope of ITAR is extremely broad and it potentially captures numerous scenarios that might seem completely unrelated to defense exports!
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