On December 23, 2020, pursuant to Executive Order 13936, BIS published a regulatory amendment confirming that exports, reexports and transfers (in-country) to Hong Kong will be treated under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) as transactions destined for the People’s Republic of China, unless otherwise explicitly specified. The amendments notwithstanding, there remains in place certain recordkeeping requirements for multilaterally controlled items destined to and destined from Hong Kong. Please view the Frequently Asked Questions.

Hong Kong is frequently a transshipping point to locations around the globe. Sometimes, a US export is routed through Hong Kong to avoid US export regulations. When completing due diligence for a potential export to a Hong Kong company, an exporter should consider the following, along with any other due diligence measures that are appropriate:

Is the company registered with the Hong Kong Companies Registry?

Hong Kong-based companies, registered on the Hong Kong Companies Registry, are legally required to have company secretaries. Directors and shareholders do not need to be Hong Kong residents, but the company secretary must be located in Hong Kong. While companies usually appoint a person as the secretary, some companies hire secretarial firms to handle administrative functions, including services for offshore clients. Exports to secretarial firms create a risk of diversion contrary to the EAR.

Does the Hong Kong company have a physical location in Hong Kong? If not, are they utilizing a logistics service provider?

Exporting to an address other than that of the buyer or the end-user creates a risk of diversion contrary to the EAR. If a buyer that claims to be in Hong Kong requests that you ship to a logistics provider, your shipment is likely destined to a place outside Hong Kong.

Has the company obtained an import/export license issued by Hong Kong? Are they aware of local licensing requirements? (see http://www.tid.gov.hk/eindex.html for a control list item)

Most items controlled for National Security (NS), Nuclear Proliferation (NP), Missile Technology (MT), and Chemical Biological (CB) require an import and/or export license per Hong Kong regulations, even if such items are authorized for export from the United States to Hong Kong under a License Exception or the designation No License Required (NLR). A lack of knowledge regarding Hong Kong import/export licensing requirements is a red flag.

Is there is a legitimate use in Hong Kong for the item(s)? Does the Hong Kong company know the end use and user? Will the purchaser and end user complete a BIS-711 or other End User Statement? Does the information provided seem logical for the transaction?

The answer of “no” to any of these questions is a red flag.

If the Hong Kong company is not the end user, can they provide the purchase order or a confirmation of purchase from the end user?

These documents can give the US exporter more insight into the pending export and it should raise a red flag if the Hong Kong company is unwilling to provide these documents.

Is the information provided by the Hong Kong company and the end user via purchase orders, end-use statements, etc. complete and consistent? Is the US exporter able to verify companies, addresses, names, and contact information online?

Incomplete and inconsistent information is a red flag. Examples: generic first name contact persons, persons who cannot be linked to a company or university directory, end-user names with no accompanying signatures, companies that can’t be found via a search of the internet, addresses that can’t be found via online mapping services, and phone numbers and other information that aren’t related to any country or company party to the potential export.

US exporters must resolve any red flags prior to shipment (Supplement No. 3 to Part 732 of the EAR). Exporters must not self-blind or ignore questionable information. If you have concerns about suspicious inquiries that come to your firm, you are encouraged to contact your local BIS Export Enforcement Office or use BIS’s online tip form

If you have any questions about export licensing requirements or submitting a license application, contact BIS’s Office of Exporter Services at (202) 482-4811 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hong Kong Best Practices

Hong Kong has promulgated a set of "Best Practices" and BIS encourages you to ensure that your company, as well as all of the parties in the transaction chain, adheres to best practices. Your Hong Kong consignees may commit a violation of Hong Kong export controls if they fail to follow Hong Kong's best practices. You can view Hong Kong’s Trade and Industry Department's best practices here, and are encouraged to share them with your overseas counterparts.

All companies doing business in Hong Kong are required to register with the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department. If you would like to know more about an entity in Hong Kong, information about registered companies is available to the public. Basic company information is available for free at their Cyber Search Center and more detailed information is available for a nominal fee.

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