Originally Posted by bean
There are perks apparently to submitting yourself for ITAR.
AND...major drawbacks as well. One of our equipment suppliers just had one of their products suddenly reclassified as ITAR-controlled more than a year after it had been put onto the domestic and export market. Good luck getting all of those already exported boxes back onto US soil!!
On the say-so of some US gov't bureaucrat invoking the almighty "ITAR", overnight our ability to get warranty service went out the door and the AE (appl. engineer) was completely gagged and unable to even discuss with me products we had already purchased, and this is for the Can. Gov't no less by the way! The ONLY way out for this company to deal with the Canadian Gov't was to go through the massive paperwork/fee exercise of obtaining the export approval from the US Gov't. It doesn't end there either. Their entire production facility for this particular product right down to every person working there and every part that goes into making the item must also be ITAR controlled because the end-product is. It's kind of like the aircraft industry where every single nut and bolt has an associated paper trail which follows it through its entire life cycle. It's no small wonder then that you end up with a regular hammer costing $15.00 at the local hardware store while the exact same hammer manufactured under ITAR rules costs $150.00 by the time you get it. Oh, and the only ones who can obtain said hammer are inside the USA as it's overly burdensome to sell what really is a $15.00 hammer outside the country, especially when the prospective client country has figured out how to build their own for even less. That or they import it from China...
ITAR is an economic, protectionist policy thinly masquerading as an arms control one. Most USA-based manufacturers would tell you straight-up that it really doesn't help them other than granting access to US DOD contracts for the few companies lucky enough to obtain them. ITAR closes the market rather than opening it up and does a complete end-run around NAFTA. Luckily however, there are (convoluted and annoying) procedures for "friendly" nations to obtain ITAR-restricted items but the paperwork headache is not fun and the burden on manufacturers isn't either.