The recent flurry of Federal Register notices from BIS continued unabated yesterday with the publication of a final rule expanding the scope of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) end-user and end-use controls.
These prohibitions are what are commonly known as "catch-all" controls -- even when an item wouldn't ordinarily require an export license to be shipped to a certain destination you're obliged to seek a license from BIS if you know the item will be used in the design, development, production, stockpiling, or use of CBW. It's not entirely clear how far the government might go in enforcing this rule. But conceivably if Kazakhstan called up Rubbermaid and asked for some 32 gallon bins to help store the remnants of their Soviet-era chemical weapons stockpile, Rubbermaid would need to get a license from BIS first even though the bins are otherwise classified EAR99 and could ordinarily be exported to other end-users without a license.
Similar end-use and end-user restrictions are in place on nuclear, rocket, UAV, and maritime nuclear propulsion activities (see EAR Part 744).
What Wednesday's regulation does is widen the scope of these controls by eliminating the exemption to them for members of the Australia Group, an informal international arrangement that seeks to limit the proliferation of CBW-related materials and technology. Now US exporters will need to scrutinize orders from AG countries such as the Czech Republic, Japan, and Switzerland for CBW end-use with the same level of care they've been required to exercise for some time when it came to the rest of the world.
BIS says that the new rule is consistent with the AG Guidelines, but the guidelines themselves are silent as to whether or not the catch-all rule should be applied to other AG participants.