AUKUS Export Controls Streamlined by BIS


Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published an interim final rule significantly reducing licensing requirements for Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) to foster defense trade and technological innovation. BIS anticipates these changes will reduce licensing burdens for trade with Australia and the UK by over 1,800 total licenses valued at over $7.5 billion per year. 

Similar relaxation by the State Department on ITAR controlled technology can be expected "over the course of the next 120 days," according to a statement.

BIS is removing Commerce Control List (CCL) license requirements to allow Commerce-controlled military items, missile technology-related items, and hot section engine-related items to be exported or reexported to Australia and the UK without a license. 

As a result, many Commerce-controlled items, including certain satellite-related items, will now be eligible for export or reexport to Australia and the UK without a license. 

“Australia and the United Kingdom are among our closest and most longstanding allies.  Our nations have robust collective security arrangements and have fought side-by-side for over a hundred years,” said Alan Estevez, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security. “BIS is taking action today to advance the AUKUS partnership by using export control authorities to support defense trade and innovation with Australia and the UK.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul issued the below statement following the Biden administration’s failure to grant the U.K. and Australia a defense trade exemption by the initial deadline set out by the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act in order to fully implement the Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) defense security partnership. 

“This negative certification is very unfortunate, and I am perplexed as to why it was not given to our two closest partners. Because of that, our security efforts will continue to be hindered by International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR).

While I was pleased to see the Commerce Department quickly release an interim rule that will scale back export controls, the State Department continues to delay the necessary decision to deter and counter the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.”

The AUKUS Enhanced Trilateral Security Partnership, launched in 2021, is a collaborative multinational effort between the United States., the UK, and Australia with the goals of (1) supporting collective security and defense interests, (2) deepening information and technology sharing, and (3) fostering integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains.

 Both countries have robust export control systems and have taken additional steps in recent months to enhance technology protection. 

The UK’s National Security Act 2023 provides for, among other things, enhanced protections against the unauthorized disclosure of certain defense-related information.  Australia’s Defense Trade Controls Amendment Act 2024 and Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets Act 2024 provide for controls on reexports of items originally exported from Australia, disclosures of controlled technology to certain foreign persons within Australia, and the provision of defense services. 

These measures mitigate the risk of unauthorized use or diversion of those items subject to BIS’s Export Administration Regulations, which may now be exported or reexported without a license to Australia and the UK. With these changes, firearms-related items are the primary category of items that remain subject to a BIS license requirement to Australia and the UK.

Existing license requirements for the following items will remain in place:

  • Certain satellites and related items
  • Certain items controlled pursuant to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and items controlled for short supply reasons (e.g., certain petroleum products and Western red cedar)
  • Certain law enforcement restraints and riot control equipment, implements of torture or execution, and horses exported by sea

[89 FR 28594]


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