The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a set of federal rules that American manufacturers must follow if they make certain products that to be sold to customers outside the United States. An understanding of ITAR is essential to any manufacturing operation to avoid significant federal penalties.

The Basics of ITAR

ITAR was drafted over 30 years ago as the government tried to slow the export of technology to nations allied with the Soviet Union. It stated that any products or services on the United States Munitions List (USML) could not be exported unless the manufacturer registered with the US Department of State and followed certain procedures.

Many companies, particularly smaller operations, had not heard of ITAR until more recently because the government was not aggressive about enforcing it. However within the last ten years, federal authorities have been pursuing breaches of ITAR vigorously. What some manufacturers are discovering is that even if they are ITAR compliant, they can still be in danger if their suppliers are not.

Work Only With ITAR Compliant Vendors

Let’s look at a common example. A manufacturer makes a piece of equipment on the USML such as a fire control system. They register the company under ITAR and follow all regulations, and yet end up getting in trouble because their product includes custom silicone keypads from a vendor who is not ITAR compliant.

This can be confusing. Custom silicone keypads are not explicitly listed on the USML, but if they are components of USML systems then they must meet ITAR requirements before export. Manufacturers might not realize that they are responsible for components as well as the finished system because the ITAR regulations are not clear on this subject.

Si Tech custom silicone keypads are ITAR compliant and can safely be used on USML-listed electronic systems.

Si Tech Is An American Company

The debate on working with foreign suppliers takes on a new dimension when considering US export regulations. Buying custom silicone keypads from non-US companies can jeopardize a manufacturer’s ITAR compliance.

It is true that some foreign venders, despite not being subject to ITAR regulations, implement procedures to make themselves compliant. They do this specifically because they want to work with American companies. However they may not understand the complexities of ITAR and since there is no actual accountability if they don’t meet ITAR rules, they often make only a token effort toward compliance. This is confused further when you have international companies that have both American and foreign offices. Their definition as domestic or foreign can get fuzzy, and the American manufacturer ends up suffering if the vendor does things wrong.

Si Tech is an American-owned company incorporated under the laws of our nation. Our custom silicone keypads are manufactured at our plant in Virginia and are fully ITAR compliant. Don’t put your company at risk by using foreign parts. Buy American components to ensure you are meeting all ITAR regulations.