The Bureau of Industry and Security is playing Easter Bunny and has left a little Easter egg in the Easter baskets of anyone planning to export certain items to Hong Kong beginning April 19, or two days after Easter Sunday. The Easter egg, er, new rule provides that any export to Hong Kong of an item controlled for NS, MT, NP Column 1, or CB reasons needs an import license from Hong Kong or a statement from Hong Kong that a license is not necessary. These items are not required as part of the BIS license application but must be in the U.S. exporter’s possession before the export is made.
The reason that U.S. exporters need to babysit the compliance by Hong Kong authorities with their own import rules is far from clear. The stated reason for this new rule in the Federal Register notice does not make much sense:
BIS is taking this action to provide greater assurance that U.S. origin items that are subject to the multilateral control regimes noted above will be properly authorized by the United States to their final destination, even when those items first pass through Hong Kong.
Okay, that is what the BIS is licensing process is for and these documents are not even required when applying for the license. So that rationale is, well, not very compelling.
BIS has also published FAQs on the new requirement. These make clear that the requisite documents must be obtained from Hong Kong even if the export is being made pursuant to a license exception.
Who says there are never any surprises in their Easter baskets, just the same old dyed eggs and chocolate bunnies?
Photo Credit: Hong Kong International Commerce Center by Bernard Spragg [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Flickr https://flic.kr/p/q9tJLV [cropped]. Copyright 2014 Bernard Spragg