I love it! A good friend of mine sent me this article he received in an email announcement from the law firm of WILLIAMS MULLINS.
Read it and weep ITAR offenders! Law abiding companies rejoice!
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As many of you know this is one drum that I have been beating to death for many years now. Look, I am a free trade guy. I believe that in the true sense of capitalism all good American companies should be able to fend for themselves. They should be able to make it work on any level, okay fairly-level playing field, but. I never abide cheating and when companies violate ITAR rules they are cheating, and they should face the consequences.
For far too long in this country certain companies both OEM’s and CEMs have been playing fast and loose with ITAR laws, especially when it comes to printed circuit boards. They have repeatedly tried to plead to our government that our U.S. board capabilities have diminished to the point where they have to go offshore (read non-ITAR) to buy their boards. Or, up until recently that the bare PCB is too lowly and component to earn ITAR protection. Fortunately, IPC did finally convince the DDTC that the boards were an integral part of proprietary products and got them written into the rules. So, now there is no longer a gray area. It is right there in black and white that PCBs are ITAR protected and that when the call out is for ITAR PCBs they had better be built in the good old USA; or like our friends at FLIR they are going to be punished.
Hooray! I have had too many of my PCB sales friends telling me stories about actually losing military programs to offshore vendors because their customers chose to go offshore to buy their PCBs. PCBs that needed to be built in an ITAR compliant facility.
I had one incident where a company I was working with mistakenly got the wrong copy of a military RFQ and noticed that instead of getting their own they got the one for a Taiwanese PCB fabricator. When the inside sales person called the buyer to point this out and further point out that this was an ITAR job and that the RFQ data package should never even leave the country, the buyer became furious and cut us off from quoting the package!
This story indicated to me that the true ITAR violators are not really the non-ITAR companies taking the orders and building the boards but rather the OEM’s and CEM’s who buy the boards from them in the first place.
Look it gets down to this. It is hard enough to make a living selling boards in the United States these days without having to deal with this illegal unfairness. And what the DDTC did with FLIR this week should be a loud and clear warning to any other companies that is even thinking of getting their ITAR boards from a non-ITAR supplier. It’s only common sense.