Rules issued in revision of Cold-War-era export policy

The system, rooted in the 1960s, is widely considered antiquated and protects nuts, bolts and other seemingly benign items that were placed on the lists because they could be used to build weapons.

American businesses have for years called for a new set of rules to ease the flow of goods, while adjusting export controls to account for the new national security realities.

Begun in 2009, the initiative involves transferring thousands of less significant military items that don’t warrant the tight controls of the State Department’s U.S. Munitions List to a more flexible list at the Commerce Department.

Ultimately, the two lists would be merged and overseen by a new export control agency charged with licensing exports and enforcing the new regulations.

“These reforms will allow the U.S. Government to better focus on controlling the export of the more sensitive technologies that remain on the U.S. Munitions List while streamlining controlled exports of less sensitive defense-related items to U.S. Allies and partners around the world,” the State Department said in a written statement.

The items were broken into 21 categories. In April, the agencies issued final rules for the first round of items, including engines and aircraft materials.

On Wednesday, regulations were released for four additional categories: “vessels of war” and navy equipment, ground vehicles, materials and miscellaneous articles and submarines and related items.

The rules will take effect 180 days after they are published in the Federal Register, allowing businesses time to adapt to the new controls.

Eleven of 21 categories remain unfinished, the agencies said.