On January 19, 2017, the Bureau of Industry and Security ("BIS") published a final rule regarding new support documentation requirements with respect to exports to Hong Kong.1 Hong Kong is officially part of the People's Republic of China ("PRC"), but it is treated as a Special Administrative Region and has autonomy over most of its governmental affairs, including the maintenance of a separate import and export control system. Because of this distinction, the United States treats Hong Kong and the PRC as two separate destinations for export purposes. This special treatment is protected by the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.2
The BIS rule went into effect on April 19, 2017 and requires exporters that export or reexport to Hong Kong certain items subject to the Export Administration Regulations ("EAR") to obtain (and maintain), prior to export or reexport, a copy of a Hong Kong import license or a written statement from the Hong Kong government that such a license is not required. The import license (or statement in lieu of a license) is used to verify the status of the item under the Hong Kong Import and Export (Strategic Commodities) Regulations and may be obtained by the U.S. exporter from the importer in Hong Kong. The particular items subject to this final rule are any items controlled on the Commerce Control List ("CCL") for national security ("NS"), missile technology ("MT"), nuclear nonproliferation ("NP" column 1), or chemical and biological weapons ("CB") reasons.
In addition, the final rule requires persons reexporting items from Hong Kong that are controlled for NS, MT, NP column 1, or CB reasons to obtain a Hong Kong export license or a statement from the government of Hong Kong that a license is not required. For both export and reexport to Hong Kong and reexport from Hong Kong a "statement from the Hong Kong government that such an [import/export] license is not required" includes either a written statement from the Hong Kong government to the license applicant that the item does not require a license or statement to the general public that a license is not required for the item. A statement to the general public includes a statement on a website by the Hong Kong government.
Exporters to Hong Kong can find more information about the new support documentation requirements from a special FAQ document available at https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/forms-documents/pdfs/1637-2017-hong-kong-rule-faqs/file.
1 Support Document Requirements with Respect to Hong Kong, 82 Fed. Reg. 6216 (Jan. 19, 2017) (codified at 15 C.F.R. Pts. 740, 748 and 762).
2 United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, Public Law 102-383, 106 Stat. 1448 (Oct. 5, 1992).
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