International transfers of software and technology are very different compared to the export and import of other goods and services. This is because software and technology can be in a tangible or intangible form. For example, the software can either be in the form of a memory stick, which is tangible, or in the form of a server download, which is intangible. Thus, it is critical for exporters and regulators to be in sync with regard to software and technology transfers. This blog aims to review the key challenges on the measures to control software and technology transfers.
The most important point to keep in mind is that not all technology exports are controlled. For instance, public domain information, basic research, and the minimum information needed for patents are a few items that are exempt from technology control. Similarly, technology export for the purpose of use in installation, operation, and repair of goods that are not listed in controls are exempt from the list. Nevertheless, various other technologies are part of the control list. These include software and technical data transfers that are not under the above categories. In such cases, regulators and exporters need to implement a range of control measures. These measures include strict compliance regulations, fines in case of non-adherence, and tracking international transfers.
However, such control measures face multiple modern challenges. These challenges include the increased use of cloud services, which can be hard to track. Another challenge is the new developments in terms of production lines. Techniques such as 3D printing mean that individuals and companies can produce goods using code sharing. In addition to this, there are various proliferation challenges that can have a negative impact on these control measures. These challenges include the control of biological weapons, conventional weapons, and other illegal activities.
In order to deal with these nuances, organisations such as the EU have issued guidelines. These guidelines pertain to database encryption and document management systems. Organisations such as the EU also recommend the use of record-keeping and compliance mechanisms. Furthermore, traders need to have clear policies in terms of access control. Companies also need to implement Technology Control Plans (TCPs). These plans are aimed at educating company personnel about export control classification. Similarly, individuals who are travelling internationally need to be aware of their responsibilities in terms of carrying technical data overseas. In case individuals are unaware of the requirements, they need to seek assistance from overseas companies.
OCR Trade Management offers a range of technical data management and foreign travel management solutions that could help your business in monitoring software transfers and export of technology. Technical management solutions help companies in screening all data transfers and verify export authorisations. Additionally, foreign travel management solutions help in tracking your itineraries. Our compliance personnel can help you in identifying license or export issues in the early stages of your travel cycle. Please contact us to find out more about how we can help you with our technical management offerings.