On April 27, 2023, the U.S. Department of State published an Interim final rule and request for comments to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to “remove from U.S. Munitions List (USML) Category XI certain high-energy storage capacitors and to clearly identify the high-energy storage capacitors that remain in USML Category XI.”
In this rule, the Department is removing certain storage capacitors from the ITAR list, due to technology progression that has rendered them “extensively integrated into commercial applications” and “widely available internationally without multilateral export restrictions.” Such high-energy low-voltage storage capacitors have broad commercial application, including in Wi-fi routers and civil aviation aircraft transponders. As such, they do not provide a critical military or intelligence advantage. Accordingly, the interim final rule adds a 125 V criterion for high-energy capacitors described on the USML. The interim final rule also reorganizes paragraph (c)(5) of USML Category XI to delineate each control parameter more clearly and adds a note explaining the control criteria.
The Department is soliciting requests from the public to the following questions:
- Please provide specific examples of any high-energy storage capacitors that exceed the 125 V threshold but fall under a 500 V threshold that you believe do not provide a critical military advantage.
- What implementation challenges are presented by the use of either “capable of operating” or “voltage rating” to describe the voltage threshold?
- Is there additional guidance that would be useful in parsing “capable of operating,” as used in this rule?
- Is it sufficiently clear in the “capable of operating” implementation that the voltage capability is for steady-state, versus transient or surge, operating conditions?
- Is it sufficiently clear in the ‘capable of operating’ implementation that the voltage capability does not vary based on circuit design margins?
- Could a “voltage rating” criterion be implemented more easily and consistently? If so,
- Do you assess that a sufficient definition of “voltage rating” would be “the value, based on the capacitor’s design, testing, and evaluation, that describes the maximum amount of continuous voltage that will not damage the capacitor”?
- Is it sufficiently clear in the alternative ‘voltage rating’ implementation that the voltage rating is for steady-state, versus transient or surge, operating conditions?
- Is it sufficiently clear in the alternative ‘voltage rating’ implementation that the voltage rating does not vary based on circuit design margins?
- What would be the effect of adding a temperature criterion (e.g., “measured at or below 85 °C”) and is it accurate that the voltage rating of a capacitor only declines with an increase in temperature?
- Would a criterion such as “will not reduce the capacitor’s full energy life below 10,000 discharges” address the fact that each charge and discharge cycle likely inflicts some damage on a capacitor?
- Are these revisions unclear in any way, or can they be more concisely stated? For example, please identify any: – Terms that you find ambiguous in definition or context – Constructions or language that vary from existing USML entries.
- Are there other technical issues directly related to this entry which the Department should address in a future rulemaking?
This rule will be effective on May 21, 2023, and comments must be sent by May 27, 2023 (30 days from date of publication). Further information on Comment Submissions can be found at the full PDF, here.