Those of us who live in the District of Columbia are used to, if not content with, the routine indignities imposed on us as residents of that tiny square of reclaimed swamp land sandwiched in between Virginia and Maryland. Like convicted felons, we can’t vote for anyone in Congress. Like third-world dictatorships, any laws enacted by our city council cannot go into effect unless approved by our unelected overlords in Congress. When trying to book a hotel or buy a gadget over the Internet, we find we can’t fill out the order form because the District of Columbia, which is not a state, is not listed in the drop-down list of states. When traveling, we can be denied boarding flights because some TSA agent decided that a D.C. drivers license isn’t a state-issued ID.
So kudos to the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) for, at last, recognizing that the District of Columbia exists, as it finally did in the recently proposed amendment to the definitions in the Export Administration Regulations. Currently, section 734.2(b)(8) of the EAR says this:
Export or reexport of items subject to the EAR does not include shipments among any of the states of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or any territory, dependency, or possession of the United States. These destinations are listed in Schedule C, Classification Codes and Descriptions for U.S. Export Statistics, issued by the Bureau of the Census
Take a look at Schedule C which defines those territories, dependencies and possessions of the United States that are not exports, and you will see Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Minor Outlying Islands. Conspicuously missing from the list is the District of Columbia.
The proposed amendments add a new section 734.18(a)(3) which says this:
Shipping, moving, or transferring items between or among the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or any territory, dependency, or possession of the United States as listed in Schedule C, Classification Codes and Descriptions for U.S. Export Statistics, issued by the Bureau of the Census.
Now that may be good news for us in the District of Columbia, but it’s bad news for anyone who has ever shipped an item on the Commerce Control List, such as a cattle prod, into the District of Columbia in the past five years. Anyone who did that has violated U.S. export laws because the District of Columbia is not a state and it’s not listed in Schedule C. It’s a foreign destination under current rules. You could go to jail. You could be fined $250,000 for each such export by BIS. You could have your export privileges denied. So, folks, get those voluntary disclosures in before you find a team of ICE agents in your offices carting off all your computers and interrogating all your employees.