Business Law Today, Vol. 2, No. 2 (November-December 1992), pp. 46-49


If you're an exporter, it pays to be a know-it-all these days.

Does there appear to be even a slight potential that the item you're shipping could play any part at all in modern weaponry? then you need to know exactly how that item will or may be used. You also may need to know who will ultimately use it, and where.

If you're a lawyer advising either that exporter or a supporting financial institution, you, too, now need an extra measure of vigilance. For one thing, it helps to know how to write loan documents with the necessary safeguards to cover possible violations of the recent government regulation that requires so many people to be in the know.

The regulation that is introducing this new era for exporters is the year-old Enhanced Proliferation Control Initiative (EPCI). It seeks to control the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missile technology by "privatizing" the monitoring of exports. With this approach, the government is essentially shifting the responsibility away from itself and onto industry for keeping close watch over shipments of products and technologies.

Whether a business ships something serious, such as sensitive computer software, or innocuous, such as paper clips, it must adhere to the EPCI--and the government is talking tough about penalties for violators.

What changes does the EPCI require of businesses involved either directly or indirectly in exporting? And how should lawyers who represent those businesses change their methods?

This article will spell out the sorts of internal changes -- compliance supervisors, for example -- that businesses need to introduce. It will also take note of the need for the lawyer to adapt loan agreements with EPCI compliance in mind, and to review an exporter's principal agreements.