Export license backlog not eased by end of shutdown

The Commerce Departments Bureau of Industry and Security won’t be catching up on the backlog of export license requests anytime soon. These applications must move through an approval process that is handled by myriad departments depending on the nature of the license. The 35 day shutdown only exponentially compounded the delays of the backlog.

Relief won’t come soon as the BIS stated that the backlog would be cleared in the order in which they arrived, giving little comfort to those waiting. The backlog didn’t process at all during the 35 day shutdown though new requests still poured in every day. Further compounding the issue are the
other export process issues apart from the requests, including classification requests, encryption reviews and registrations and advisory opinions, that need to be processed before the backlog can be tackled.

These issues can impact compliance officers who are often in a rush to have their licences in place before agreements can be made at high levels. Without a responsive BIS working in a timely manner – 30 days is the usual turn around time – deals and sales can be held over, lost or changed resulting in financial distress. The other option, carrying on without compliance is the veritable rock upon which they’re squoze against the hard place, carrying compounding financial penalties and investigations that can turn criminal in nature.

We at Nelson International advise patience and diligence in the strongest terms. While it’s not easy to wait for BIS to catch up and begin moving licenses, especially when we may face another shutdown in 11 days, remaining in compliance is the only real goal for shippers, forwarders and exporters. It will take time to see the machine fired back up and humming along as it was before December, but it will get back up and those who remained in compliance will see worries abate, which isn’t going to be so for those who try and circumvent the BIS.