By Don Buehler

When it comes to EAR compliance, a common mistake is to find the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) for your product and then make all your licensing determinations based on that alone. However, it’s important to remember there are actually two ECCNs for every item – one that controls the product, and a second that controls its technology. This fact can be easily overlooked, and could lead to costly compliance mistakes.

I was reminded of this today while doing some research for one of our clients. The ECCN in question had to do with some carbon fiber covered by 1A002. This particular ECCN is controlled for NS Column 2, NP Column 1 and AT Column 1 Reasons for Control. The technology for these fibers, which can always be found for any ECCN under the sub-category “E”, is located in 1E001. Here, we find that 1E001 is controlled for all of these reasons, plus an additional Reason for Control of NS Column 1. (NOTE: There are additional controls here, but a careful reading of the entry shows that many of them don’t apply to our product’s ECCN – in this case, 1A002.)

So, what does all this mean with regards to export compliance? For our client, the net outcome was unchanged. That’s because the additional reasons for control for the technology did not trigger a license requirement. However, the key takeaway from a compliance standpoint, is that we would not have even known about this additional control on technology, if we first hadn’t known to look for both ECCNs in the EAR.

It’s easy to see how having two ECCNs could lead to two separate license requirements – one for the product and another for its technology. And it’s also important to remember that, in many cases, these are one-in-the-same when it comes to exporting. (It all depends on the type of technology being exported).

At any rate, if you want to gauge how your company is doing when it comes to EAR compliance, one of the first things you can ask is: Do we have two ECCNs assigned to each product or service?

If not, then you may still have some work to do before you’re ready to export.

Don Buehler is founder and president of Export Solutions, Inc., a consultancy firm which specializes in helping companies comply with ITAR and EAR.