Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) and ITAR

Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA)
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A Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) is a requirement under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) when an organization exports a defense service, technical data, or the assembly of a defense article.  A defense article is defined as an item or technical data that is enumerated in the United States Munitions List (USML)

Other important definitions surrounding this issue are as follows:


    • The ITAR defines an export as a shipment or transmission out of the United States; 
    • A release or transfer of technical data
    • A transfer of registration, ownership, or control
    • A release or transfer of a defense article to an embassy or related agencies within the U.S.
    • Performance of a defense service
    • Release of previously encrypted technical data

Technical Data

Technical data refers to types of information required for design, development. modification, maintenance, production, manufacture, operation, assembly, testing, or repair of defense article.  This could include schematics, blueprints, instructions, or other such documentation.  It also includes software directly associated to a defense article, classified information, or any information covered by an invention secrecy order.

Defense Service

Defense services include instances where assistance is provided to foreign persons in the United States or abroad.  This could include training activities to foreign persons.  This assistance or training is applicable to the design, development. modification, maintenance, production, manufacture, operation, assembly, testing, or repair of defense article.

Defense services also include the furnishing of technical data to foreign persons in the U.S. or abroad.  Additionally, it includes the provision of training, education, advise, orientation, or transfer of information by media to foreign military forces.

U.S. Person

A U.S. person is defined as a lawful permanent resident of the United States or a protected individual as defined in 8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(3).  It also refers to business associations, organizations, entities, corporations, societies, trusts, or groups incorporated in the United States.

Situations Requiring a TAA

There are a number of situations where an organization would require a TAA.  The following list includes some of those situations:

  1. Supporting Direct Commercial Sales to Foreign Parties
  2. Providing Overseas Maintenance or Training Support
  3. Technical Studies, Evaluations, Demonstrations or Consultations with Foreign Parties
  4. Efforts to Import Technology from Abroad
  5. Supporting a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Case
  6. Supporting U.S. government-Sponsored Foreign Contracts

TAA Submittal Process

The TAA is a legally binding document between an organization and the U.S. government.  The organization submitting the request must fall under the definition of a U.S. person and be registered with the DDTC.  The following outline some of the required information and requirements for obtaining an agreement.

TAA Transmittal Letter

The first step in the TAA process is the creation of a TAA Transmittal Letter.  This document states the general purpose of the requested TAA and lists any previous related agreements, licenses, and applicable Foreign Military Sales (FMS), as well as any previous communications with the DDTC.  The letter includes a summary of proposed transactions including specific defense articles, services, and involved parties.  

The Transmittal Letter must also include particular financial information, any classified information included in transfers, security clearance codes for U.S. parties involved in the agreement.  Pertinent legal statements are also required that delineate limitations, responsibilities, and further forms required for submittal.

Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA)

The TAA is the actual legal contract between the organization and the government.  This document is also used to obtain Manufacturing Licensing Agreements for organizations seeking to have controlled items manufactured abroad.  This lengthy document must be completed with all required information or it will be returned with no action taken.

Amendments must be submitted once an agreement has been obtained if any changes in the transaction are to occur.  This includes information specific to all signors to the agreement.

CVG Strategy Export Compliance Management Programs

Submission of a Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) is a detailed process that must be performed properly in order to a license agreement from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).   CVG Strategy ITAR consultants can create a Technical Assistance Agreement, prepared in accordance with the DDTC Guidelines. This will authorize your company to transmit or communicate technical data (provide a defense service) lawfully.  Our experience will help ensure that all required data is included to avoid unnecessary delays in the approval process.

Export Compliance is an important subject for businesses engaged in sales of items that are intended for international sales or could result in international sales.  Failure to comply with regulations can result in criminal prosecution including imprisonment and fines.  It can also result in civil penalties and disbarment from export activities. 

CVG Strategy can help you in understanding the ITAR and EAR, and help you establish a coherent and effective export compliance program.   We can perform export control classifications, perform audits, assist in filings for export licenses and educate your team.  Regardless of whether your business falls under EAR or ITAR, CVG Strategy has the expertise to help. 

James Hamilton

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