Not all products require an export license to ship out of the US. However, the exporter (the US Principal Party in Interest or USPPI) is responsible for determining whether its products are subject to export controls and, if so, the specific controls that apply. Even though it may be completed by a freight forwarder, the USPPI is responsible for the license number or license exception/exemption placed on the Shipper’s Export Declaration or Automated Export System transmission, and will be liable for any false statements in this regard. Penalties can include detention or seizure of the goods, financial penalties, and criminal actions against the exporter and its employees. A common assumption is that only “high-tech” articles are subject to export controls. This is not entirely correct. Many high tech articles are not subject to special licenses or controls. Conversely, many low-tech or non-technical articles may be subject to export controls. In addition, it may be illegal to ship to certain denied or debarred foreign parties or embargoed countries. The exporter must screen its shipments to assure that it is not engaging in illegal transactions.
The primary US Government agencies regulating exports are the Bureau of Industry and Security, whose website is located at http://www.bxa.doc.gov/ and the Office of Defense Trade Controls, US Department of State, whose website is located at http://www.pmdtc.org/