[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 193 (Wednesday, October 6, 2010)]
[Pages 61706-61707]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-25152]



Bureau of Industry and Security

[Docket No. 100920454-0473-02]

Request for Public Comments Regarding Small and Medium 
Enterprises' Understanding of and Compliance With the Export 
Administration Regulations

AGENCY: Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of Inquiry.


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is publishing a 
notice of inquiry to solicit comments from the public regarding small 
and medium enterprises' (SMEs) understanding of and compliance with 
export controls maintained pursuant to the Export Administration 
Regulations (EAR). BIS anticipates that input from the public will help 
it administer and enforce export controls in a manner consistent with 
U.S. national security while facilitating and even increasing 
legitimate trade involving SMEs and the exporting community in general.

DATES: Comments must be received by December 6, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this notice of inquiry, 
identified by ``Notice of Inquiry--SME'', by any of the following 
    E-mail: [email protected]. Include ``Notice of Inquiry--
SME'' in the subject line of the message.
    Fax: (202) 482-3355. Please alert the Regulatory Policy Division, 
by calling (202) 482-2440, if you are faxing comments.
    Mail or Hand Delivery/Courier: Sheila Quarterman, U.S. Department 
of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Exporter 
Services, Regulatory Policy Division, 14th Street & Pennsylvania 
Avenue, NW., Room 2705, Washington, DC 20230, Attn: ``Notice of 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sheila Quarterman, U.S. Department of 
Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Exporter Services,

[[Page 61707]]

Regulatory Policy Division, Telephone 202/482-2440, E-mail 
[email protected].



    President Obama's August 2009 call for broad-based review and 
modernization of U.S. export controls presented the Bureau of Industry 
and Security (BIS) a strategic opportunity to reach out to regulated 
groups such as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) regarding their 
experience with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). More 
recently, the President's National Export Initiative (NEI) announced in 
January 2010 focuses on expanding trade advocacy and opportunities, 
particularly for SMEs. Pursuant to the NEI, the Commerce Department's 
International Trade Administration will seek to increase the number of 
SMEs exporting over the next five years. BIS continues to develop the 
agency's commitment to addressing SMEs' concerns through its outreach 
efforts. At its October 2009 annual Update Conference on Export 
Controls, BIS led a roundtable discussion on SMEs' export compliance 
    In this notice of inquiry (NOI), BIS is soliciting information 
regarding SMEs' understanding of and compliance with the EAR. BIS 
intends to use the information to evaluate the need for innovations and 
revisions that will enhance SMEs' understanding of and compliance with 
the EAR. Given SMEs' strategic position in export trade, the EAR must 
continue to address SMEs' concerns in a manner that promotes compliance 
without adversely affecting competitiveness. Ultimately, the agency 
seeks to administer and enforce export controls in a manner that 
protects U.S. national security while facilitating and even increasing 
legitimate trade involving SMEs and the exporting community in general.
    It is important to BIS to identify and address issues that impact a 
range of SMEs' understanding of and compliance with the EAR. BIS 
intends that this NOI will yield useful input not only from and about 
enterprises with extensive experience in export trade but also from and 
about enterprises less familiar and less experienced in export trade.
    Unlike for small businesses or enterprises, there is no widely 
accepted or agreed upon definition of medium enterprises. However, 
industry and government entities have made progress in incorporating 
the consideration of medium enterprises in matters of global trade.
    In formulating an appropriate definition of SMEs for purposes of 
this NOI, BIS reviewed relevant data from U.S. Government, industry, 
and international sources, including the U.S. International Trade 
Commission (USITC), the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Commerce's 
Bureau of the Census, and the European Commission. In particular, a 
recent USITC report, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Overview of 
Participation in U.S. Exports (USITC Publication 4125, January 2010), 
and the SBA Office of Advocacy's analysis on which it draws offer 
helpful guidance in defining SMEs. Based on the USITC report, the 
related analysis from the SBA's Office of Advocacy, and the SBA's 
definition of ``business concern'' (13 CFR 121.105), BIS defines SMEs 
for purposes of this NOI as enterprises with fewer than 500 employees, 
organized for profit, and independently operated and established within 
the United States. Given the range of sectors that participate in dual-
use exports, BIS does not believe that a revenue threshold is 
appropriate. BIS welcomes comments regarding this definition.
    Comments that identify issues and make recommendations regarding 
SMEs' awareness and understanding of the EAR, as well as their 
experiences complying with the EAR, will be instructive. BIS invites 
the public also to submit comments on the following:
    (1) The principal challenges SMEs face in trying to comply with the 
EAR, including any challenges that SMEs uniquely face and approaches to 
overcoming these challenges;
    (2) The value of current BIS outreach, education and counseling to 
SMEs in understanding and complying with the EAR;
    (3) Ways to improve or expand SMEs' awareness, knowledge and 
understanding of the EAR and increase their capacity to comply with 
them; and
    (4) Data, including comparative international data, that support 
comments and recommendations related to items (1) through (3) above; 
and that provide examples of effective methods of administering and 
enforcing export controls with special attention to SMEs.
    Comments should be submitted to BIS as described in the ADDRESSES 
section of this notice by December 6, 2010. BIS will consider all 
comments submitted in response to this NOI that are received before the 
close of the comment period. Comments received after the end of the 
comment period will be considered if possible, but their consideration 
cannot be assured. BIS will not accept public comments accompanied by a 
request that a part or all of the material be treated confidentially 
because of its business proprietary nature or for any other reason. BIS 
will return such comments and materials to the persons submitting the 
comments and will not consider them. All public comments in response to 
this NOI must be in writing (including fax or email) and will be a 
matter of public record, and will be available for public inspection 
and copying on the BIS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Reading Room 
Web site at http://bis.doc.gov/foia/default.htm.

    Dated: September 27, 2010.
Kevin J. Wolf,
Assistant Secretary for Export Administration.
[FR Doc. 2010-25152 Filed 10-5-10; 8:45 am]