BIS proposes export restrictions on electronic waste


International Trade Alert


On October 23, 2018, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) proposed new export restrictions[1] on electronic waste. Proposed restrictions include (1) domestic disposal of non-exempt e-waste; (2) reporting requirements; and (3) recordkeeping requirements.

Definition of electronic waste

BIS is concerned that national security is jeopardized where counterfeit goods enter the US military and civilian electronics supply chain due to the unregulated recycling of e-waste. Accordingly, its proposed definition of e-waste includes:

  • Computer equipment
  • Data center equipment
  • Mobile computers
  • Televisions
  • Video display devices
  • Digital imaging devices
  • Consumer electronics
  • GPS devices


Proposed e-waste exemptions include:

  • consumer appliance with electronic features
  • electronic parts of motor vehicles
  • tested working used, refurbished electronics
  • recalled electronics
  • unusable electronics exported as feedstock (raw material constituting the principal input for an industrial process)

Tracking exempt e-waste exports

BIS is considering two approaches to track exempt e-waste exports. First, BIS could require exporters of exempt e-waste to obtain an export license under Export Administration Regulations. Second, it is considering establishing an Automated Export System (AES), managed by the US Census Bureau, to track and record exempted e-waste exports.

Recordkeeping requirements

The proposed rule requires exporters to retain documentation for all exported e-waste, including a description of how items satisfy exemption criteria, the methodology used to test items and the test results for each item. Further documentation may also be required.


BIS is seeking public comment until December 24, 2018 on all aspects of the proposal.

Given the new rule's potential impact on electronics exporters, potentially affected companies should communicate their concerns to BIS. DLA Piper's international trade group stands ready to provide assistance in preparing comments on the proposal and navigating the future export regulations on e-waste.

Find out more by contacting Thomas M. deButts.

Sean Croft is a law clerk in the International Trade group, based in Washington, DC.

[1] Request for Public Comments Regarding Foreign Disposition of Certain Commodities, 83 Fed. Reg. 53411 (Oct. 23, 2018).