Definition of Interstate or Foreign Commerce of the United States
When United States persons (as defined by the antiboycott regulations) located within the United States purchase or sell goods or services located outside the United States, they have engaged in an activity within the foreign commerce of the United States. Although the goods or services may never physically come within the geographic boundaries of the several states or territories of the United States, legal ownership or title is transferred from a foreign nation to the United States person who is located in the United States. In the case of a purchase, subsequent resale would also be within United States commerce.
It is the Department's view that the terms “sale” and “purchase” as used in the regulations are not limited to those circumstances where the goods or services are physically transferred to the person who acquires title. The EAR define the activities that serve as the transactional basis for U.S. commerce as those involving the “sale, purchase, or transfer” of goods or services. In the Department's view, as used in the antiboycott regulations, “transfer” contemplates physical movement of the goods or services between the several states or territories and a foreign country, while “sale” and “purchase” relate to the movement of ownership or title.
This interpretation applies only to those circumstances in which the person located within the United States buys or sells goods or services for its own account. Where the United States person is engaged in the brokerage of foreign goods, i.e., bringing foreign buyers and sellers together and assisting in the transfer of the goods, the sale or purchase itself would not ordinarily be considered to be within U.S. commerce. The brokerage service, however, would be a service provided from the United States to the parties and thus an activity within U.S. commerce and subject to the antiboycott laws. See § 760.1(d)(3).
The Department cautions that United States persons who alter their normal pattern of dealing to eliminate the passage of ownership of the goods or services to or from the several states or territories of the United States in order to avoid the application of the antiboycott regulations would be in violation of § 760.4 of this part.