Effective May 23, 2016, the U.S. State Department revised its policy and terminated the embargo that had previously prohibited any exports to and imports of lethal arms and related material from Vietnam. President Obama announced this change in policy during a visit to Hanoi, Vietnam. Under the new policy, U.S. persons and other individuals or business entities subject to the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) may now apply for a license to export lethal defense articles and defense services to Vietnam or temporarily import the same from Vietnam. The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls will then review any license applications on a case-by-case basis.

Interested exporters and importers should be aware that this same licensing requirement also applies to exports to or imports from Vietnam of non-lethal defense items or services. Furthermore, any party receiving one of the aforementioned licenses must still comply with additional restrictions imposed under the AECA and the related International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).