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06/27/2012

Feds, private sector to host major Seattle conference on US export laws

SEATTLE – Northwest businesses and researchers will gather at a two-day conference at the end of July to learn about the latest in U.S. export control laws and regulations.

The event, presented by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Commercial Service's Seattle Export Assistance Center, Microsoft Corporation, and the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney LLP, will be held at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, July 31 to Aug. 1.

The conference titled "Export Controls: Awareness and Application" covers the basics of U.S. export laws and regulations and the latest legal updates. Presenters from private industry and government will discuss best practices and present case studies in export compliance.

"Technology plays an important role in American military and economic superiority," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. "With Washington state being a center for cutting edge aerospace, software and medical research, we want to make sure that those involved in these sectors are informed."

According to the Seattle Export Assistance Center, Washington businesses are finding that emerging markets around the world offer some of the best opportunities for making new sales and are adjusting their export strategies accordingly. But for industries researching and manufacturing advanced technology, navigating U.S. export laws and regulations can also be tricky.

"U.S. export control laws impose strict 'nationality' barriers to technology transfers and even to the engagement of non-U.S. persons as workers, producers or resellers," says Nelson Dong, partner at Dorsey & Whitney. "It's a dilemma since foreign trade and investment involves the free flow of ideas, products and people across national boundaries."

While many people may think the illegal transfer of controlled technology to a foreign country involves the clandestine sale of equipment or documents to a foreign agent, authorities say it can be as simple as letting a non-U.S. citizen employee or research assistant see controlled information.

Knowing what is and is not allowed is important says Lou Ventino, senior director for Microsoft's Global Trade Organization. "Companies are increasingly under pressure to meet their global growth goals. So it is important to know the rules and how to manage them, especially as the world and what the world buys become more complex."

Speakers at the conference will include high-level representatives from both the federal and private sectors, including HSI; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Department of Commerce; Defense Technology Security Administration; Boeing; OpticsPlanet; FLIR Systems; Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co.; and Lynden International, among others.

The registration fee for the entire conference is $275, which includes meals and reference materials. There is also an option to attend only the second day, focusing on deemed exports, for $150. Conference registration is open to the public.

The agenda, online registration and more information can be found at: entire two-day event: http://go.usa.gov/y7B second day only focusing on deemed exports: http://go.usa.gov/VQC or by contacting Diane Mooney at 206-553-5615 ext. 236