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Understanding the Four Types of U.S. Export Controls

January 22, 2016

American export controls can cause your business anxiety, fear, confusion and significant expense. Fraught with complex language, more acronyms than you can count, seemingly random changes in the law, and excessive fines — some exceeding $1 million for a single violation — understanding the types and challenges of these controls is essential to remaining competitive.

This primer provides a framework to understand the four types of U.S. export controls applicable to manufacturing companies. By understanding this framework, you will be better prepared to review a baseline assessment of the export control risks applicable to your business.

So, what are the four types of controls?

Your business should perform a baseline assessment to determine applicable item, country, end-use and end-user U.S. export controls. The more applicable issues you are able to spot, the less anxiety, fear, confusion and expense your business will have to face.

Jeffrey Richardson is a senior attorney in Miller Canfield’s export controls group, based in Troy, Michigan. He can be reached at

[Editor's Note: Article previously published in the October 2015 edition of MiMfg Magazine.]