Are My Products or Services Affected by ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations)?

We help lots of Western firms get started in China and with various aspects of China market-entry. ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is a question that comes up frequently with our US-based clients. Our offer is “turnkey” meaning that we offer ALL of the services a China market-entry client may need – either directly or through some of our partner firms – so we have tried to address ITAR in this article.

This post is part of a 3-part series:

Part 1 (This Article):  Are My Products or Services Affected by ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations)?

Part 2 :  ITAR Paragraph 121 – Affected Products or Services

Part 3:  Confirming ITAR Concerns with the US State Department


The US government has issued a set of rules related to defense/military products and services affecting US citizens and firms. These rules are intended to control import and export of products the government considers sensitive or that may infer some advantage to an adversary. These rules are referred to as or ITAR.

How Do I Know if I Am Affected by ITAR?

Certain products and services are affected by ITAR. These are products or services the US government indicates as being related to defense or military. The rules state that these products or services may only be shared with “US Person” unless and exemption is provided by the US State Department.

To understand if you are affected by ITAR you will first need to understand the structure of some of the documents and to refer to the relevant section.

ITAR Document Structure

Products and services affected are on what is called the United States Munitions List (USML). The USML is what you need to review in order to understand if you may be affected by ITAR.

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 22, Foreign Relations, part 121 is the home of USML.

The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) that is part of the US State Department administers these rules.

Part 121, as of this writing, contains paragraphs 121.1 – 121.16, however only paragraphs 121.1 and 121.16 are currently used with paragraphs 121.2-121.15 being reserved for possible further use.

Learn More About ITAR Part 121

Part 121 is here: Part 2:  ITAR Paragraph 121 – Affected Products or Services

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