The U.S. export regulations identify controlled technology by publishing control lists:
In order to understand what export restrictions apply to your technology, you must first determine which regulation(s) may apply. This is called the “export classification” process. Once you determine the export classification for your technology, you can proceed to the next step of determining if an export license or authorization is needed prior to exporting your commodity outside the U.S., or sharing your technology with foreign nationals .
There are two primary methods for making an export classification: obtaining a vendor classification (preferred), or conducting one’s own self-classification (see below).
1. Preferred Method (for commercial technology): Vendor Classification. Start by requesting the export control classification from the manufacturer/vendor – typically they have the most knowledge about the technology of the item. Also, in order to sell their product outside the U.S., they have to have this information for exporting purposes.
A. For technology already in the Lab’s possession, call or send an email to the vendor’s sales department. In order to avoid confusion with customs regulations (different from export regulations), you should phrase your question to the manufacturer or vendor as follows:
“I have one of your products (insert model name and number here) and I need to determine export licensing requirements. What is the export classification of your product under the U.S. Export Administration Regulations or the International Traffic In Arms Regulations? Please provide the ECCN or USML category.”
Typically, you’ll receive an answer within the same business day.
B. For technology we plan to purchase, send this form to the vendor for completion (or include the following form with any request for a quote): Pre-Purchase Export Controls Classification Certification
Note on Foreign Vendors and Small Businesses
Foreign vendors will not be familiar with U.S. export regulations – skip directly to the secondary method of self-classifying below.
Smaller U.S. businesses may or may not conduct business internationally. However, it is still worth asking the question or sending the form above in case they do. If they do not, proceed to the secondary method below.
2. Secondary Method: Self-Classification. This involves the scientist, engineer, or researcher reviewing export regulations for a positive match. This method also applies to technology developed at LBNL. Because of the technical terminology in the regulations, it is important that this self-classification be performed by someone with expertise in the applicable technology. (Note on Visual Compliance. If you believe you may have to self-classify more than one or two items, it may be a good idea to register as a user of Visual Compliance , an online service which provides a Google-type user interface which can search both the CCL and USML simultaneously.)
Step 1: Confirm if item designed for DOD, HSA, military, space, or nuclear applications. If not, skip to Step 2. If yes, review the applicable control lists below:
DOD, HSA, Military or Space Items – http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/regulations_laws/itar.html (Part 121 – The United States Munitions List)
If you find a positive match in either the ITAR or NRC you are done. Contact LBNL Export Control at [email protected] with your determination and await further instructions.
Step 2: If the search for your item in Step 1 was negative or not applicable, then you must review the EAR’s Commerce Control List for the applicable ECCN . (An online resource is available that provides the entire List as a searchable PDF: http://www.learnexportcompliance.com/Tools/Searchable-CCL.aspx. Alternatively, you can register as a user of Visual Compliance , a UC-subscribed online service which provides a Google-type user interface which can search both the CCL and USML. We strongly recommend registering for Visual Compliance as it can save considerable time.)
You’ll probably have to play around with the search terms before you start to understand how the EAR defines your specific technology. Try all common names of the technology before giving up – you never know which terminology is favored in the regulations but the burden is on the exporter (you) to find it. You may want to start with the most likely CCL Categories if you get too many hits when you search the entire List.
Some Tips On Searching:
Raw supplies, Materials or Samples: conduct a separate search for each component element or chemical. For example, a berylium-doped selenium manganese epitaxial thin film on a silicon carbide substrate would require that you review all search hits for each search term: “berylium”, “selenium”, “manganese”, “thin film”, “silicon”, “carbide”, “epitaxial”, and “substrate”. (The correct export classification in this example is either ECCN 3C001, 3C005, or 3C006 depending on whether it is a semiconductor)
Equipment and Hardware – Systems: There are ten categories of technology under the CCL. You should start with the most likely category for your items, but not rule out the possibility your item may be found in one of the other categories (a good example are technologies in Categories 3, 4, and 5 which overlap considerably):
Category 0 – Nuclear Materials Facilities & Equipment
Category 1 – Materials Chemicals Microorganisms and Toxins
Category 2: Materials Processing
Category 3 – Electronics: Systems, Equipment and Components
Category 4: Computers
Category 5 Part 1 – Telecommunications
Category 5 Part 2 – Information Security
Category 6: Sensors & Lasers
Category 7: Navigation & Avionics
Category 8: Marine
Category 9 – Aerospace and Propulsion
Function and Type. The equipment may be described by its function (e.g. “equipment specially designed for mask making”), or its type (e.g. “carbon dioxide lasers”). It’s important when classifying equipment or hardware, that you search for both its function and its type since the regulations won’t always list both.
Start Specific, then Expand Generally. When searching either function or type, start with specific search terms. Using the example above, begin your search with “carbon dioxide laser”. If nothing comes up, try “CO2 laser”. If still nothing comes up, then try more general search terms like “laser” and review all the laser entries to see if your laser may have be controlled under a different name (e.g. “gas laser”). Note: It is rare to get a specific hit right away as the regulations tend to be general in order to capture all relevant technologies, but it can save you considerable time if you get lucky.
Equipment and Hardware – Components: Even if you are only shipping a part or component of a system, not the system itself, that part or component may be controlled. Perform the same search as though you are shipping the entire system, if you receive a positive hit, review the control description to see if it includes “components” (e.g. ECCN 4A003, “Digital computers,” “electronic assemblies,” and related equipment therefor, and “specially designed” “components” therefor).
9x515 or “600 series” ECCNs : These ECCNs trump other ECCNs if you identify multiple ECCN matches for the same technology. For example, if your item matches descriptions in both 9A515 and 3A001, then the applicable control is 9A515.
Can’t find a match? If you cannot find an ECCN match for your technology anywhere in the CCL or elsewhere after exhausting all common descriptors of such technology in your searches, then the default classification that should be used is EAR99 . EAR99 items may be exported to most countries except those under U.S. sanction and/or embargo. The current list of countries which may not receive EAR99 technology are: Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and the Crimea region of Ukraine. Specific persons or entities may also be barred from receiving EAR99 technology (see Restricted Party Screening).
Still have questions about searching? Contact [email protected] for assistance.