The Government is strict on its oversight of the Arms Export Controls Act of 1976 and US compliance laws. Although ITAR laws have sweeping results and liability for individuals and companies, the central issue for litigation is actual conduct.
When corporate executives face criminal liability for violation of export compliance laws, the defense attorney should be looking seriously at the intended conduct to see how courts will rule. When there are investigations on the way, then the government’s investigator will more than likely be looking at emails, correspondence or any level of activity that can shed light on the importance of conduct.
Looking at the plain meaning of import and export US compliance laws and statutes, courts recognize that each defendant, or corporation, can be a “person” under us imports and exports law.
However, this is only the first step in determining liability for a violation of either ITAR compliance laws.
- Facts drive the outcome of international trade cases;
- The government always has the burden of proving its case.
Section 1592(a)(1)(A) of US import export compliance laws forbids any person to “enter, introduce, or attempt to enter or introduce” merchandise into the United States by certain means with a certain intent or lack of care.
Courts include corporations, partnerships and associations under 19 USC 1401(d) (confirming that the term “includes” partnerships, associations, and corporations; no exclusion of individuals).
Under Import and Export Administration Regulations – Courts Look at Conduct
When deciding whether a defendant is liable under import and export compliance laws and Export Administration Regulations, courts look to see whether the defendant’s conduct falls within the proscriptions of the statute. See also information about the North American Trade Agreement Act.
For example, when products reach the port, the court may look to see whether the defendant actually took affirmative actions to introduce the products into the commercial marketplace.
- Failure to establish such evidence may weaken the case.
Companies must understand the underlying legal principles with international trade and analysis when thinking about importing and exporting products and merchandise.
Failure to meet the strict rules under US compliance laws can cause stiff penalties and even criminal liability. Check your internal controls and policies to make sure that you are in compliance with us imports and exports regulations. See information about DOD ITARS.
For help with import and export control, ECCN number licenses, and Export Administration Regulations and understanding how your conduct can impact litigation in a criminal case, call a Watson’s export compliance services attorney at 1-866-601-5518.