Export Control Classification Number (ECCN)
Export Control Classification Number (ECCN)
What is ECCN code?
An Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) is a five-character alphanumeric key used in the Commerce Control List (CCL) to classify U.S. exports and determine whether an export license is needed from the Department of Commerce. An ECCN categorizes a product based on its commodity, software, or technology.
All Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) are divided into ten categories within the Commerce Control List (CCL), which are then divided into five product groups. The first character of the ECCN identifies its broader characteristic (e.g. nuclear materials or electronics) and the second character represents its product group (e.g. material or software).
The ECCN must be reported if the product falls under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the US Department of Commerce. Use the following Commerce Control List to determine your product’s ECCN by category and product group:
As an exporter, you must be concerned with the proper classification of your goods and products. I hear from many exporters who are confused about the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) classification for their product and the Harmonized System (HS), Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), and Schedule B numbers of their products.
HS, HTS and Schedule B numbers allow customs to assess proper duty and taxes on imported goods or to collect export statistics.
HS codes, also called HS numbers, is a six-digit classification used by customs authorities around the world to identify the duty and tax rates for specific types of products. You’ll use an HS number when you reference the classification with your customers, vendors, and anyone outside the U.S.
Many countries, including the United States, add additional digits to the HS number to further distinguish products in certain categories. These additional digits are typically different in every country.
The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States is the 10-digit import classification system specific to the United States. HTS codes, also called HTS numbers, are administered by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Commodity duties are assessed based on this classification. An HTS code takes the same form as an HS code for the first six digits, then has four differing last digits. If you are a U.S. importer, this is the code you must use.
The Schedule B code is a 10-digit subset of HTS codes for U.S. exporters. Schedule B codes are used for statistical purposes by the U.S. government to monitor U.S. exports. Companies that export typically use the appropriate Schedule B codes for their products rather than HTS codes on their export paperwork, and when filing their electronic export information (EEI) through the Automated Export System (AES). Since the Schedule B codes are a subset of HTS codes, it’s usually quicker and easier for exporters to classify products under Schedule B than HTS.
3 Ways to Classify Your Products for Export Controls
The first step in ensuring export compliance is determining who has jurisdiction over your goods. While most items are controlled by the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), your items may not be, especially if they have a direct military application. In that case, they may fall under the jurisdiction of the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC).
In order to determine if your export requires authorization from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which is part of the Commerce Department, you need to answer the following questions:
- What is the ECCN of the item?
- Where is it going?
- Who is the end user?
- What is the end use?
There are three ways to classify your products for export controls:
1. Self-classify your products.
Self-classification is exactly what it sounds like: you are solely responsible for determining your product’s classification. To do this requires a technical understanding of your item and familiarity with the structure and format of the Commerce Control List (CCL).
Once the appropriate category and product group are identified, match the particular characteristics and functions of your item to one of the specific ECCNs that follow.
You can also use the Commerce Control List Index to navigate the CCL.
2. Request an official classification from BIS.
Your second option is to submit a commodity classification request through the Simplified Network Application Process – Redesign (SNAP-R) online. You will need a Company Identification Number (CIN) before accessing the online SNAP-R system and submitting your request.
3. Rely on the product vendor.
The third way to classify your products for export controls is to go to the source. You can contact the manufacturer, producer or developer of the item you are exporting to see if they have classified their product and can provide you with the ECCN.
If they have exported the item in the past, it is likely they have the ECCN. However, it’s your responsibility to review the ECCN and make sure it’s up-to-date and correct. Make sure you’re in agreement with the vendor, because it will ultimately be your responsibility, not theirs.
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