The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is actively engaged in formulating, coordinating, and implementing various export controls to counter the use of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) that could enable human rights abuses or repression of democracy throughout the world. These controls are a mix of list-based, end-user, and end-use controls, as well as specific licensing policies that allow review of transactions for concerns about human rights abuses and repression of democracy. The purpose of this page is to clarify to the exporting community that licensing decisions are based in part upon whether items may be used to enable abuses of human rights or repression of democracy including through censorship; surveillance; abusive genetic collection and analysis schemes; detention; excessive use of force; and forced labor.

Notably, BIS has taken singular action, as well as joint action in concert with interagency partners, in response to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government’s brutal repression of the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang; denial of the autonomy and freedom of the people of Hong Kong; and to the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Burma by the military and security forces of that country.

Recent Updates  

Biden Administration and International Partners Release Export Controls and Human Rights Initiative Code of Conduct
Press Release
March 30, 2023

Commerce Adds Eleven to Entity List for Human Rights Abuses and Reaffirms Protection of Human Rights as Critical U.S. Foreign Policy Objective
Press Release
March 30, 2023

BIS Actions

Expansion of Export Controls on Cambodia

December 2021

August 2021

Supporting the Cuban People’s Right to Seek, Receive, and Impart Information through Safe and Secure Access to the Internet

Expansion of Export Controls on Burma

April 2021

March 2021 

February 2021


Licensing Policy to Promote Respect for Human Rights (October 2020)


New Controls on Water Cannon Systems (October 2020)


Notice of Inquiry on Advanced Surveillance Systems and Other Items of Human Rights Concern (July 2020) 


Addition of Entities Engaged in, or Enabling, Human Rights Abuses and Repressing Democracy to the Entity List

July 2021 (China)

July 2021 (Burma)

June 2021 (China)

March 2021 (Burma)

December 2020 (China)

July 2020 (China)

June 2020 (China)

October 2019 (China)

For additional information relating to the Entity List, and compliance with its prohibitions, please view the following webpage:

Hong Kong: Tiananmen Square Sanctions


On December 23, 2020, pursuant to Executive Order 13936, the Bureau of Industry and Security published a regulatory amendment confirming that exports, reexports and transfers (in-country) to Hong Kong will be treated under the Export Administration Regulations as transactions destined for the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China). This action was taken in response to security measures imposed on Hong Kong by the government of China which fundamentally undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy. These measures have resulted in a suppression of democracy and increasing human rights violations in Hong Kong.


Additionally, Hong Kong’s loss of autonomy has increased the risk that sensitive U.S. items, including crime control and detection items, will be diverted to unauthorized end uses and end users in China. As a result, a licensing policy of denial for crime control and detection items pursuant to the Tiananmen Square Sanctions applies to Hong Kong.


This statutory requirement encompasses all items controlled under Sec. 742.7 of the EAR , identified by a Crime Control (“CC”) reason for control on the Commerce Control List.


Executive Order 13936


Removal of Hong Kong as a Separate Destination under the Export Administration Regulations


Tiananmen Square Sanctions

Sec. 902(a)(4) of Public Law 101-246 )




Interagency Actions

Burma Business Advisory (January 2022) 

Cambodia Business Advisory (November 2021) 

Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory (July 2021)

Hong Kong Business Advisory (July 2021)

Department of State Guidance on Implementing the UN Guiding Principles for Transactions Linked to Foreign Government End-Users for Products or Services with Surveillance Capabilities (September 2020)



BIS issues guidance and FAQ on human rights, exports, and licensing


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