On December 9, 2021, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced that it was amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to apply more restrictive treatment to exports and reexports to, and transfers within, Cambodia of items subject to the EAR.  BIS stated that it is taking this action “to address recent actions by the Government of Cambodia that are contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, “ which include increasing Chinese military influence in the country as well as growing corruption and human rights abuses.

In the final rule published by BIS, the Country Group designation for Cambodia has been modified to reflect the country’s identification by the State Department as subject to a United States arms embargo with a designation under Country Group D:5.  Cambodia has also been added to the list of countries subject to military end use and end user controls and restrictions (i.e., MEU List), and to the list of countries subject to military intelligence end use and end user (i.e., MIEU) controls and restrictions.  Going forward, all license applications for export to Cambodia will be reviewed to determine the risk of diversion to a military end user or military end use.  In such a review, BIS has stated that there will be a “general policy of approval for license applications to export, reexport, or transfer items determined to be for civil end users for civil end uses;” however, there will be a “presumption of denial” for license applications involving transactions that “would make a material contribution to the development, production, maintenance, repair, or operation of weapons systems, subsystems, and assemblies.”

Also effective December 9, 2021, the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) amended the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to add Cambodia to its list of proscribed countries. As a result, it is now the policy of the United States to deny licenses and other approvals for exports and imports of defense articles and defense services destined for or originating from Cambodia. The Federal Register notice states that this action is being taken in response to “significant credible evidence of corruption, human rights abuses, and an exclusive agreement with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on military expansion in Cambodia by the Cambodian government.”