What Is A Deemed Export, And When Is It Relevant For Customs Clearance?

What exactly is a Deemed Export, and when does it come into play for customs clearance? Understanding this concept is crucial for businesses engaged in international trade. A Deemed Export refers to the transfer or release of certain sensitive technologies, information, or technical data to a foreign person within the United States. These exports are “deemed” as if they were actually shipped abroad and are subject to the same legal and regulatory controls as physical exports. This article will explore the significance of Deemed Exports in the context of customs clearance, outlining the situations in which it becomes relevant and the potential implications for businesses involved. Whether you’re new to the world of customs clearance or seeking to expand your knowledge, this article will provide valuable insights into this important aspect of international trade.

What Is A Deemed Export, And When Is It Relevant For Customs Clearance?

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Definition of a Deemed Export

Deemed export explained

A deemed export refers to the transfer of controlled technology or information to a foreign person or entity within the territory of a country. This transfer is deemed as an export, even if no physical movement of goods takes place. Essentially, it means that providing access to certain controlled technology or information to a non-U.S. person is treated as if it were an actual physical export of the technology itself. The concept of a deemed export allows countries to protect their national security and prevent the unauthorized transfer of sensitive technology to individuals or entities outside their borders.

Types of deemed exports

There are various types of deemed exports, depending on the circumstances and the specific controlled technology or information involved. Examples of deemed exports can include, but are not limited to:

  1. Transfer of technical data: This can involve providing access to technical specifications, blueprints, or any other form of information that can facilitate the development or production of controlled technology.
  2. Training: When a non-U.S. person receives training in the use or development of controlled technology within the United States, it is considered a deemed export.
  3. Collaboration and research: If foreign nationals participate in collaborative research projects or have access to controlled technology or information as part of their work, it is deemed an export.
  4. Access to controlled facilities: Allowing foreign individuals to enter and work in controlled facilities, where they may have access to sensitive technology, is also considered a deemed export.

It is important to note that the concept of a deemed export is not limited to the United States and can be applicable to other countries with similar export control regulations.

Regulations and Laws

Export Control Regulations

Deemed exports are primarily governed by export control regulations that are implemented by countries to regulate the transfer of controlled technology. In the United States, the main legislation governing deemed exports is the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). The EAR controls the export, reexport, and deemed export of items, software, and technology that have both civilian and military applications.

The EAR categorizes controlled technology into different levels of sensitivity and aligns it with various export control lists, such as the Commerce Control List (CCL) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). These lists help determine the level of control required for specific technologies and outline the licensing requirements associated with their transfer.

Customs and Border Protection Regulations

In addition to export control regulations, customs and border protection regulations play a crucial role in the clearance process for deemed exports. These regulations ensure that proper documentation is provided and that appropriate duties, taxes, and fees are paid for the movement of goods across borders.

Customs and border protection agencies, such as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), are responsible for enforcing import and export laws, including those related to deemed exports. Compliance with these regulations is essential to avoid any delays or penalties at the border.

Determining Factors

Factors for classifying a deemed export

Several factors help determine whether a transfer of technology or information qualifies as a deemed export. These factors may vary depending on the export control regulations of each country, but generally include:

  1. Nationality and residency: The nationality and residency of the individuals or entities involved in the transfer can influence whether it is considered a deemed export. The restrictions and licensing requirements may differ based on the country of origin or citizenship of the individuals or the country of incorporation of the entities.
  2. Access to controlled technology: The level of access granted to non-U.S. persons to controlled technology or information is a key factor. If the technology is restricted and its transfer requires an export license, providing access to foreign individuals would be classified as a deemed export.
  3. Location of the transfer: The physical location where the transfer takes place is also important in determining if it qualifies as a deemed export. The transfer must occur within the territory of a country subject to its export control regulations.

Level of technology involved

The level of technology involved in a deemed export can also impact the classification and control requirements. Technologies that are considered sensitive or have potential dual-use applications, meaning they can be used for both civilian and military purposes, are subject to stricter regulations and licensing requirements. These technologies may include advanced electronics, encryption software, aerospace technology, nuclear materials, and certain chemicals.

Export control lists

Export control lists, such as those mentioned earlier, play a significant role in determining whether a particular technology or information is subject to export controls and licensing requirements. These lists outline specific items, software, and technologies that are controlled, and they categorize them based on their sensitivity and potential dual-use capabilities. Compliance with these control lists is crucial for accurately identifying deemed export scenarios and ensuring proper licensing and documentation.

What Is A Deemed Export, And When Is It Relevant For Customs Clearance?

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Entities Involved


The exporter refers to the party or entity that transfers the controlled technology or information to foreign individuals or entities. This can include individuals, companies, research institutions, universities, or government agencies. The exporter has the responsibility of complying with the relevant export control regulations and obtaining the necessary licenses or authorizations for the deemed export.


The consignee is the foreign person or entity that receives or has access to the controlled technology or information. It can range from individuals involved in research activities to foreign companies seeking to enhance their technological capabilities. The consignee must also comply with the applicable regulations and ensure that the technology or information is used solely for authorized purposes.


The end-user is the ultimate recipient of the controlled technology or information. It can be an individual or organization that intends to use the technology for specific purposes, whether commercial, scientific, or military. The end-user’s compliance with export control regulations is crucial to prevent unauthorized dissemination or misuse of the technology.

Clearance Process

Required documentation

The clearance process for deemed exports involves the completion of various documentation to ensure compliance with export control and customs regulations. The following are some of the required documents:

  1. Technology Control Plan (TCP): A TCP is a detailed plan that outlines the procedures and safeguards in place to prevent unauthorized access or transfer of controlled technology. It demonstrates the exporter’s commitment to responsible technology transfer and serves as a key document in the deemed export review process.
  2. Deemed Export License Application: In some cases, a deemed export may require obtaining an export license. The exporter must prepare and submit the license application, providing details about the technology, end-users, and other relevant information.
  3. End-user and Consignee Information: The exporter must gather detailed information about the end-user and consignee, including their identities, addresses, and intended use of the controlled technology. This information is vital for determining the appropriateness of the deemed export.
  4. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): NDAs are often required to ensure that the consignee and end-user understand and agree to protect the technology or information from unauthorized disclosure.

Customs declaration forms

To facilitate the customs clearance process, exporters must complete and submit the necessary customs declaration forms. These forms provide details about the goods, their value, and the parties involved in the transaction. Proper completion of the forms helps customs authorities assess the duty and tax liability, ensure compliance with export control regulations, and expedite the movement of goods across borders.

Export licenses

In certain cases, a deemed export may require the exporter to obtain an export license from the relevant authorities. These licenses grant permission for the controlled technology or information to be transferred to non-U.S. persons or entities. The exporter must submit an application detailing the nature of the technology, the end-user, the purpose of the transfer, and other relevant information. The export license helps ensure that the deemed export complies with the export control regulations and meets the national security interests of the country.

Potential Risks and Considerations

Risk of technology leakage

Deemed exports pose a risk of technology leakage, where sensitive or controlled technology falls into unauthorized hands. Non-U.S. persons who have access to controlled technology may be more susceptible to the theft, diversion, or unauthorized dissemination of that technology. This risk could potentially compromise national security or provide a competitive advantage to foreign entities. Exporters must carefully evaluate the risks associated with a deemed export and implement appropriate safeguards to minimize the risk of technology leakage.

Intellectual property protection

During a deemed export, there is a possibility that the controlled technology or information may be misappropriated or used without proper authorization. Protection of intellectual property becomes crucial to safeguard the exporter’s proprietary rights. Exporters should consider implementing measures such as encryption, access controls, and non-disclosure agreements to protect their intellectual property and ensure its use is limited to authorized purposes.

Security measures

Exporters must also consider the security measures required to protect the controlled technology or information during the deemed export process. These measures may include physical security, access controls, IT security, and employee training. Implementing robust security measures helps mitigate the risk of unauthorized access, theft, or compromise of the technology.

Evaluation and Compliance

Compliance monitoring

Compliance monitoring is an essential aspect of managing deemed exports. Exporters must establish procedures and controls to ensure ongoing compliance with the relevant export control regulations. Regular monitoring, audits, and assessments help identify potential compliance gaps and provide an opportunity to rectify them before any violations occur. Monitoring can involve conducting internal reviews, utilizing compliance software, and engaging with legal experts to ensure adherence to the export control regulations.

Internal audits

Internal audits play a crucial role in evaluating the effectiveness of an exporter’s export control program. These audits assess the exporter’s compliance with the relevant regulations, identify areas for improvement, and ensure that proper procedures and safeguards are in place for deemed exports. By conducting regular internal audits, exporters can proactively address compliance issues and strengthen their overall export control program.

Potential consequences of non-compliance

Non-compliance with export control regulations can have severe consequences for exporters. These consequences may include financial penalties, restrictions on future exports, loss of export privileges, negative impact on the company’s reputation, and potential legal implications. It is crucial for exporters to fully understand and comply with the regulations to avoid the costly consequences associated with non-compliance.

Exceptions and Exclusions

Exemptions from deemed export requirements

Certain circumstances may qualify for exemptions from deemed export requirements. These exemptions may vary depending on the export control regulations of each country and can include:

  1. Fundamental research: Transfers of information resulting from fundamental research activities, which are typically not subject to export controls, may be exempt from deemed export requirements.
  2. Publicly available information: If the controlled technology or information is publicly available, it may not be subject to deemed export regulations. However, determining the availability and accessibility of information may require careful evaluation.
  3. Education and training exclusions: Certain educational and training activities involving controlled technology may be excluded from deemed export requirements, provided they meet specific criteria outlined in the export control regulations.

Exporters must carefully review and understand the exemptions applicable in their jurisdiction to ensure compliance and avoid unnecessary licensing requirements.

Dual-use technology exemptions

Dual-use technologies, which have both civilian and military applications, may have specific exemptions or licensing requirements. Export control regulations often distinguish between items that have primarily civilian applications and those that have significant potential for military use. Dual-use technology exemptions may allow for the transfer of certain controlled technology without requiring an export license, under specific conditions and limitations. Exporters dealing with dual-use technologies should familiarize themselves with these exemptions to avoid unnecessary licensing requirements.

Case Studies

Real-world examples of deemed exports

  1. Example 1: A U.S.-based technology company provided training to foreign engineers from a company located in a country subject to export control regulations. As part of the training, they had access to sensitive technical specifications and development processes, making it a deemed export subject to licensing requirements.
  2. Example 2: A U.S. university engaged in collaborative research with an international research institution. The foreign researchers had access to controlled technology throughout the joint project, making it a deemed export that required compliance with export control regulations.

Lessons learned from past cases

Past cases of deemed exports highlight the importance of a robust understanding of export control regulations and thorough compliance procedures. Some key lessons learned include:

  1. Establish clear classification procedures: Clearly classifying technology or information as controlled or non-controlled is crucial for accurately determining if a deemed export is taking place. Proper classification ensures that the appropriate licensing requirements and safeguards are in place.
  2. Conduct thorough due diligence: Before engaging in any collaboration or training activities involving non-U.S. persons, exporters must conduct thorough due diligence to determine if any export control regulations apply. This involves understanding the nationality, residency, and technology access of all individuals involved.
  3. Implement comprehensive training and awareness programs: Exporters should provide training to their employees regarding export control regulations, including the concept of deemed exports. Building awareness helps ensure compliance and minimizes the risk of inadvertent violations.


In conclusion, deemed exports play a significant role in regulating the transfer of controlled technology or information to non-U.S. persons or entities. Understanding the concept of a deemed export, complying with relevant export control regulations, and implementing necessary safeguards are essential for exporters to protect national security, safeguard intellectual property, and prevent unauthorized technology leakage. By complying with the clearance process, assessing potential risks and implementing appropriate security measures, exporters can ensure the successful and compliant transfer of controlled technology while mitigating the consequences of non-compliance. Compliance with export control regulations should be a priority for exporters to maintain their international business operations and reputation.

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