Office of Export Licensing – Definition

Cite this article as:"Office of Export Licensing – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated March 26, 2019, last accessed October 20, 2020,


Office Of Export Licensing (OEL) – Definition

OEL (Office of Export Licensing) is responsible for issuing licenses to any organization that is exporting certain goods that require permission to be exported.

International standards concerning importing and exporting goods are different from US Federal standards. The difference in these standards can be based on the geographical spectrum, type of goods, and the destination for goods. OEL helps individuals in the import and export business understand what are specific rules and regulation for different industries and how they can comply with them.

A Little More on What is the Office of Export Licensing

In the US, different federal agencies are authorized to issue the import-export license. These agencies identify the types of products exported to certain international destinations before issuing any license. It is to note that in most cases the license is not required but licensing obligation needs to be observed before exporting certain designated products that are on OEL list. CIB (Council for International Business) of US issues ATA document (a temporary license) for the transportation of goods.

Government Regulations on Import-Export

There are certain US Government regulations regarding the export as well as re-export of goods concerned with military and commercial use. BIS (Bureau of Industry and Security) of USDC (United States Department of Commerce) is responsible for investigating all types of exports related to industries mentioned above. There are no licensing requirements for individual exporting low-technology products. However, if the export-import is related to a banned destination then it requires licensing.

Applying for a License

The mechanism to acquire a license regarding the import-export of goods related to certain categories is different according to the legal requirements of different regions. The exporting organization needs to observe the legal framework of the second country. There are different types of licenses used in the US for shipping purposes concerned with the export-import of different merchandise.

Concerning the import of automobiles, all the documents from the manufacturer as well as the recipients are sent to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

The letter includes every type of product information, such as the name of the manufacturer, address and data related to the products. It is mentioned to show that all the regulations have been observed and certification is affixed on the vehicle.

EAP (Environmental Protection Agency) has introduced the “TSC Act” (Toxic Substances Control Act) to issue a license for chemical import-export. EAP grants safety certificate before the shipment stating that shipment has observed all the requirements of TSCA. The regulations concerning pesticides import in the US are considered stricter and must be observed by exporters.

AEC Act (Arms Export Control Act) is required to be followed by organizations that are involved in exporting arms trade. There are certain documents to be filled in by the exporter while doing arms dealing with NATO. For any arms trade, the business parties need to file an application to DDTC (Directorate of Defense Trade Controls). DDTC binds the Importer-exporters to provide all the information regarding shipping items along with their application.

The requirement of licensing for the import-export of foods and certain beverages is different according to their categories. The Farm Bill of 2002 binds merchants to label agricultural as well as meat products with details of their origin country. The import of beverages from EU countries requires European Union Health Certificate. Similarly, the import of grains should be in accordance with USGS Act or 1946 act of Agricultural Marketing.

It is vital for industrial organizations to comply with the FTZ (Foreign Trade Zone) policies while importing industrial items internationally. The similar type of procedures necessary for the import of steel products in the US.

References for Office of Export Licensing

Academic Research on Office of Export Licensing (OEL)

Exporting US Products, Services and Technologies: An Overview of the Regulations and Considerations Regarding Compliance Programs, Wenig, M. H. (1994). Denv. J. Int’l L. & Pol’y, 23, 569. This paper examines the exporting regulations for US products in the services and technology sectors. The research indicates a mechanism that how these standards are followed by merchandisers.

A Road Map to Understanding Export Controls: National Security in a Changing Global Environment, Swan, P. (1992). Am. Bus. LJ, 30, 607. The paper evaluates the framework that is essential to understand import-export controls. The paper also shows how national security can be managed in changing global environment.

US Regulations on the Export of Technical Data, Romary, J. M. (1988). J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc’y, 70, 715. The paper is a standardized and complete guide to understand the United States regulations concerning the export of technical data. There are certain legal restrictions for this type of export that are mandatory to comply with.

The 1988 Trade Act and the Effect on United States Export Controls to the People’s Republic of China, Geddes, J. B. (1989). BYU L. Rev., 611. The author elaborates the use of US trade act implemented in 1998, the overall impact of export controls in connection with trading with China.

US trade policy and the Hong Kong agreement, Carlson, P. (1988). J. Legis, 15, 59. The research has been carried out to highlight the impact of United States Trade policy and the role of this policy in trading agreement with Hong Kong.

Responsible Export Controls or Nets to Catch the Wind-The Commerce Department’s New US Controls on Exports of Chemical Precursors, Equipment and Technical …, Waite, F. P., & Goldberg, M. R. (1991). Cal. W. Int’l LJ, 22, 193. This paper discusses the role of the chemical industry with regard to the spread of biological weapons in the context of the Gulf War. In 1991, the United States Commerce Department introduced a new act that binds organizations to stop dealing with certain counties or organization that can use chemicals or technical data for weapon creation. The paper highlights that due to the disappearance of multilateral agreements it is hard to stop organizations from such trade.

National Security Export Controls: Congress Adopts an All for One and One for All Approach, Cody, L. M. (1988). Brook. J. Int’l L., 14, 573. The paper throws light on US initiatives to maintain national security with regard to export controls and the role of US Congress that passed the mechanism to tackle arm control issues.

The United States’ Approach to Trade with Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia: Exports, Export Financing and Multilateral Relations, Cinelli, G. M. (1992). TNew Eur. L. Rev., 1, 47. The paper explains US approaches of export to EU countries and deals with financing issues to avoid any harm to multinational relations with these countries.

US Trade Policy and the Hong Kong Agreement; Note, Carlson, P. (1989). Journal of Legislation, 15(1), 59. The research discusses the role and impact of United States trade policy in relation to agreements made with Hong Kong.

An analysis on the export license criteria for NSG control items in the US and Japan, Choi, Y. R. (1995). . Korea Atomic Energy Research Inst.. In this paper, the writer focuses on US initiatives concerning controlling the Nuclear Suppliers Group items. The growing threat from Korea after joining NSG has forced the US and Japan to apply strict controls to stop the export of NSG items to Korea.

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