Currently the U.S. government has three different agencies that have been given the authority to issue export licenses. Those three agencies are: the Departments of Commerce, State, and the Treasury. In 2009, President Obama ordered an interagency review of the current export control system. The review found that the current system was “overly complicated, contained too many redundancies, and, in trying to protect too much, diminished the ability to focus their efforts on the most critical national security priorities”. The review also found that many companies had to apply for multiple export licenses with each of the departments. Due to the findings of the review, the Administration created the Export Control Reform initiative to help establish a single export licensing system.

“The goal of the (ECR) initiative is to create a Single Licensing Agency (SLA), which would act as a ‘one stop shop’ for businesses seeking export license and for the US government to coordinate review of license applications.” The ultimate goal of this new licensing process would be to make the process predictable, timely, and transparent.

According to the Census Bureau, “an interagency working group was formed in March 2016 to begin working on the Single Trade Application and Reporting system (STARS) requirements”. As of June 2016, the interagency working group completed the STARS website, which “directs users whose export requires a license to the export licensing systems of the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security; the Department of State, Directorate Defense Trade Controls; and the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control.” Also in June, the working group started “identifying the list of data elements to be required within STARS”, which is still currently in process. After the working group completes the list, then the group will start “providing information on the data elements” before the group starts discussing the system design and requirements. The Census Bureau plans to create “external working groups” to help with creating the system design and requirements. As of right now there will be two external working groups, the first group “will include service providers, software vendors, and information technology specialists” and the second group will “be composed of industry representatives” who have experience in the current licensing systems.

Once the new single export licensing system, STARS, is officially in place and you are a company that is looking to register with the new system, contact to make sure your company registers properly.