The U.S. Commerce Department is launching a campaign to get the word out to exporters about the broad changes in export regulations over the last few years.

Commerce's Bureau of Export Enforcement today in Boston is holding the first of a series of public meetings with business executives under an initiative known as the Business Executives' Enforcement Team, or BEET. The goal of the initiative is to get the executives more involved in enforcing export regulations.Similar meetings are planned for New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, San Jose, Calif., Los Angeles and the Washington area.

"The exporter has to shoulder more of the burden for enforcing regulations

because of the recent changes," a Commerce official told The Journal of Commerce, adding that different kinds of exporters, particularly chemicals exporters, are more affected by the regulations now than in the past.

The end of the Cold War has radically changed the focus of the bureau, which was formed in the late 1940s to prevent the transfer of high technology to the then Soviet Bloc, Commerce officials said.

Now, the bureau works to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the Third World. Iraq's threat to use chemical weapons against Israel and U.S. troops during the 1991 Persian Gulf War heightened concern about exports of certain chemicals and chemical manufacturing equipment.

"The trouble is a lot of these chemicals are fairly routine," said a commerce special agent.

That has forced Commerce to also change the way it enforces its regulations. Rather than focusing on approving or rejecting requests for export licenses for high-risk commodities like computer chips, Commerce now focuses its attention on the end-use of commodities that may not even need a special export license.

"Before we used to be in a position where we could tell" a manufacturer if it could export a particular product to a particular country, said the Commerce official. Now, the manufacturer has a greater responsibility to find out how the product will be used, he said.

The New York meeting is scheduled for March 13 and the Chicago meeting for March 20.

For more information about the New York meeting, contact Josephine A. Moran, special agent in charge in New York, at (212) 264-1365.