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FAQ: Conducting Research in China or with Chinese Institutions

March 10, 2015

Q: I am conducting field research in China without collaborating with any Chinese institution or investigator, and my research involves transferring research results and data that I have thus far generated on the project. Do I need to be concerned?

A: No, assuming that the data being transferred is strictly the result of your research project (published or intended for publication) or related to the process of obtaining such research, no controls will apply. (However, See ITAR caveats in answers below).

Q: What if I need to transfer lab instruments?

A: U.S. licensing controls may apply, and all such instruments or tools must be classified by your campus export administrator prior to transfer to determine whether a license is required or if a license exemption applies.

Q: Can I bring my laptop with me to China?

A: Yes: but it cannot contain any ITAR-governed technical data (for example, an AUV operating manual), even if you do not intend to share it with anyone, nor any EAR-controlled data.

Q: What if my laptop does, in fact, contain ITAR or EAR-controlled data?

A: Obtain a clean laptop from Information Services or remove the controlled data to be secured for on-campus server storage as coordinated by your export control administrator. Encrypting the controlled data does not resolve this restriction.

If the data is necessary for the purpose of the travel, contact your export control administrator to classify the data for export licensing purposes.

Q: Can I visit China to give a presentation concerning research findings or attend a conference?

A: Yes: but make sure that you confine your comments to published or publishable research findings, and do not offer “off-podium” advice or services on specific instrument operation or implementation, unless such advice is itself the subject of your publishable research findings.

Q: Can I generate a proposal to a Chinese institution?

A: Yes: but prior to submission, make sure that your export administrator has reviewed the proposal for denied party screening of the intended recipient (through Visual Compliance or another tool) and a quick content review.

Q: Can I visit China to facilitate a collaborator’s vendor reviews for purposes of procuring research instruments?

A: Yes, but make sure that you do not provide any data (written or oral) that is ITAR controlled or provides assistance on using ITAR-controlled items. For example, reviewing vendor proposals on ROV or AUV implementation: under the ITAR prohibitions, we cannot provide our own vendor’s proprietary data, or assistance on using the ROV or AUV, if it contains any ITAR instrumentation; we cannot describe how our AUVs operate in technical terms.

Q: What if I am contacted by a Chinese institution or representative (in the U.S. or in China) to offer advice or research guidance using fundamental research principals and data, but for an intended non-civil, defense end use: may I proceed as long as I am discussing data in the public domain?

A: No: providing such guidance or advice for a defense end use would likely constitute an ITAR-restricted defense service, notwithstanding the fact that the subject matter might incorporate data that is currently in or intended for the public domain.

Q: What if I am not certain about the intended end use of such guidance?

A: Inquire further: if there is any question at all about whether the intended end use is not civil and may be for a defense purpose, do not proceed without further consultation from your export control administrator.

Q: What if I receive proprietary background data from a Chinese sponsor that gets transferred to the U.S.?

A: Determine whether or not Chinese export controls apply. Once the data enters the U.S., note that U.S. export controls may attach and therefore should be reviewed by your export control administrator.

Q: What if there is a change in the name or ownership of my collaborating research institution or the content of my Agreement?

A: Timely provide such information to your export control administrator to screen for potential end use/user restrictions through Visual Compliance.

Posted March 10th, 2015 | University/Research

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