Product Details Breakdown: What is an ECCN?

Eccn-BIS-logo

Logo of the Bureau of Industry and Security. This government entity handles ECCN.

When you take a trip, you want to know where you are going.

Navigating our site is like navigating the skies: the directions and destination are paramount. But unlike the sky, your progress while traveling through our site may be hindered by obstacles, including either a lack of information or aspects of a product you might be unfamiliar with.

Admittedly, including all the relevant information about a product on its page is often difficult. Manufacturers and suppliers can be hard to reach out to and often we do not get a response. And when they do respond, the data provided is not as thorough as we’d like. Still, we try our best to transfer as much details about an item so that you can make as much of an informed purchase as possible.

Details, details, details. It’s all about the details.

They say the devil is in the details, but actually details are more divine if you ask us. Why? Because being clueless about a product doesn’t make for a good shopping experience for a customer. Knowledge eliminates ignorance as well as the frustration of having to return an item because the information on the page is inaccurate or simply non-existent.

Eccn-product-page

Location of the ECCN on a product page. [CLICK TO ENLARGE]

If you’ve searched our site you have undoubtedly noticed the “Product Details” section of a product page. There are many individual components to this section. Some are more obvious than others. In this post I want to highlight one detail in particular. A lot of customers ask, “What is an ECCN?” Good question.

ECCN stands for “Export Control Classification Number.” If you are a plane owner and you just fly around the country in a GA aircraft, an ECCN may not be important to your purchase. However, we often deal with businesses, both national and international. We also handle military and government contracts. Since we have a global clientele, exporting is just a part of SkyGeek’s M.O. And because our day-to-day operations involve the aforesaid, knowing an ECCN is definitely helpful.

Eccn-CCL

The 10 categories (divisions) of a Commercial Control List (CCL) as well as the five product groups (sub-divisions). [CLICK TO ENLARGE]

An ECCN is an alpha-numeric identifier, i.e. it identifies items for export control purposes. This identifier is used in conjunction with what is called the Commerce Control List, or CCL. When doing business across borders, trade and commerce must be regulated. This is where the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) steps in. The DOC consists of many bureaus and the one that handles ECCN classification is the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). The BIS is the authority over the export and reexport of what is referred to as “dual-use” items. Dual-use simply means that the items are used for civilian as well as military applications. To find out more, you can visit the BIS page that discusses the Commerce Control List Classification, which includes a downloadable index of the CCL.

Under the CCL system, categorization is based on the nature of the product and thus so is an ECCN. Categories correspond with the alpha-numeric designations; there are 10 (0-9) including Computers (4); Navigation and Avionics (7); and Aerospace and Propulsion (9). In addition, these categories are broken down into five “Product Groups” including: Systems, Equipment and Components (A) and Technology (E).

Eccn-example

Example and break down of an ECCN based on CCL categories and product groups. Source: Bureau of Industry and Security.

When on a product page, it seems more often than not you will find EAR99 as the product’s ECCN. What is EAR99? This designation acts as an umbrella term that captures all the items that are not found on the CCL. However, such items are still under the jurisdiction of the EAR, or Export Administration Regulations. Such regulations are controlled by the BIS.

Ultimately, an ECCN comes into play if “you ship a commercial item from the United States to a foreign destination,” as it is critical in determining “whether you need a license to export dual-use items outside of the U.S.” For a more complete ECCN overview , read the Bureau of Industry and Security’s document on Export Control Classification Numbers.

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About Skylar
Skylar

Woah! This is Skylar. I am THEE Sky Geek. I like planes, trains, and automobiles, but really just planes. I love aviation and anything related to it. If you shop on our site you will see my mug plastered throughout since I am the official mascot. I enjoy talking to Sandy, Otto, and Mach since they share my passion for flight. Researching for news and events and other information that affects our customers is what I can't wait to nose dive into. The sky's the limitless!