EC Compliance or the art of securing export controls – In 2020, Marc Zarnowiecki, a former officer in the French Army Aviation, and Frank Prabel, a graduate of the “Ecole Centrale”, founded EC Compliance in order to fill a gap in the field of “sensitive” export control. Export Control Compliance – or EC Compliance – is a French software publisher that enables exporters of sensitive products to simplify their procedures, make them more reliable and export in full compliance. Marc Zarnowiecki, EC Compliance’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), brings his twenty years’ experience as Export Control Director at Airbus, while Frank Prabel, EC Compliance’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO), brings his IT industry experience at Apple and SAP in particular.

What is export control?

“When you find electronic components of French or American origin on Russian drones bought from the Iranians to bomb Ukraine, you can see how important it is for governments to implement strict and precise controls”, explains the CEO of EC Compliance.

These export controls concern sensitive products, including military equipment and technologies, but also dual-use commercial products. Ultimately, the aim of these regulations is to control the proliferation of weapons worldwide, and to prevent sensitive technologies from falling into the hands of terrorists or enemies.

But what makes this subject particularly acute and what poses an unprecedented challenge to many companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is the need to take into account various constraints and underlying trends, such as:

  • the proliferation of national and international regulations, whether from other countries or from organizations such as the European Union and the United Nations, which have resulted in a vast amount of laws, data and processes that are becoming increasingly difficult to manage without automation and recourse to artificial intelligence;
  • or the evolution of a geopolitical context characterized by aggressive trade and military policies on the part of autocratic regimes now posing a threat to France and allied countries. This calls for stricter control on arms exports by authorities and companies, not only on a battlefield like Ukraine, but throughout the world. At a time when France has become the world’s second-largest exporter in this field, it must set an example in terms of compliance with international agreements.

A risk that is sometimes overlooked or poorly managed

In this context, examples of companies subject to sanctions are not rare, and their viability can be significantly impacted. There are many reasons for this: ignorance of regulations, lack of resources or skills, poor organization…

Gathering and managing the necessary information (internal/external) can be a tenuous exercise, whether you’re a SME or a major corporation. What’s more, there are many departments involved (design office, purchasing, sales, logistics, etc.), not to mention the legal and compliance dimensions that need to be taken into consideration as well.

The EC Compliance solution

“Our software is the answer to the growing complexity of export control regulations, whether French, European or American, because it enables all these regulations to be digitized and updated in real time, thanks to “crawlers”, a kind of software robot specialized in analyzing regulatory texts, and thus significantly lightening and simplifying the task of the person – or persons – in charge of export control”, explains the CTO of EC Compliance.

The relevance of the software solution developed by EC Compliance is also based on a five-step methodology, offered through five modules (which can be used independently):

  • Classification: this first step consists of classifying products, i.e. identifying their classification code using a search engine (by keyword, by reference, or using a roadmap).
  • Exportability: this involves answering the question “Do I need an export license to ship this good to this destination country? Or are there any embargoes?
  • Screening: to check that the entity and persons to whom the transaction is addressed are not “black-listed”.
  • Licenses: this module enables you to manage export licenses (applications, allocations, expiry) and to associate orders and licenses.
  • Reporting: this last stage, based on the archiving of shipped orders and associated licenses, is also a regulatory requirement.

In a geopolitical context of tension and complex regulations, EC Compliance provides a modular software solution to secure the export of sensitive goods.



Illustration © EC Compliance