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Changes to ITAR Regulations - Nicaragua Added to Proscribed List


An update to the US ITAR could potentially affect those that work with US technology. The Department of State has recently announced an amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This amendment sees Nicaragua added to the list of countries for which the United States will deny licenses or other approvals for the exports and imports of defense articles and defense services, except under specific conditions. This development is crucial for members of the Export Controls Australia Group (ECAG) engaged in the defence sector, necessitating a closer examination of the implications of this regulatory change.

An amendment to the ITAR does not equate to a change to Australian export controls, however as Australia does not operate a list based country prohibition but analyses geopolitical factors such as internal destabilisation and human rights issues. If exporting from Australia, DEC is likely to also closely investigate Nicaragua.

Effective Date and Contact Information

The amendment takes effect on March 15, 2024. For further information, entities can reach out to ECAG for support on

Background and Supplementary Information

The decision to amend ITAR and restrict exports to Nicaragua comes in response to the country's actions that have raised significant concerns among U.S. policymakers. These concerns include the ongoing dismantling of democratic institutions, attacks on civil society, and Nicaragua's increased security cooperation with Russia. Notably, this cooperation includes support for Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which has prompted the United States to reassess its defense relations with Nicaragua.

The Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security has determined that limiting defense exports and imports to and from Nicaragua is in the best interests of U.S. national security and foreign policy. This move reflects the U.S. government's stance on promoting democracy and stability worldwide, particularly in regions where actions by governments run counter to these principles.

Implications for ECAG Members

The amendment to ITAR necessitates that ECAG members involved in the export, import, or provision of defence products and services to Nicaragua review and possibly revise their operational and compliance strategies. Key considerations include:

  • Review and Compliance: Organisations should conduct thorough reviews of their export control procedures and update them accordingly to ensure compliance with the amended ITAR regulations.

  • Dual/Third Country Nationals: If you're making use of § 126.18 Exemptions related to transfers within the same company, organization, or government to employees who hold dual nationality or are nationals of a third country, particularly as outlined in 126.1 c 2, it's necessary to revise your Dual/Third Country National (DTCN) screening procedures. Additionally, you should conduct a review of existing DTCNs retrospectively. It's crucial to consult with your legal department to guarantee compliance under Australian Equal Opportunity laws in alignment with ITAR requirements, ensuring that these updates are implemented legally.

  • Risk Management: Members must assess and mitigate risks associated with defence and dual-use exports involving Nicaragua, including reevaluating existing contracts and engagements that may be impacted by the new regulations.


The inclusion of Nicaragua in the list of countries restricted under ITAR represents a significant shift in U.S. export control policy with direct implications for ECAG members. It underscores the importance of vigilant compliance with export controls and international regulations. As the global political landscape evolves, staying informed and adaptable to regulatory changes is crucial for maintaining operational integrity and contributing to global security and stability.

For additional information and updates, members are encouraged to regularly check the Department of State's announcements and engage with export control professionals to navigate these changes effectively.

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