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What is an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN)?

An Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) is a five-digit number introduced by the Department of Commerce, US Government, to classify exports and related licenses.
export control classification number
Running an export business successfully requires a good understanding of target markets, products in demand and related compliance. Starting from obtaining an Import Export Code (IEC) and Authorized Dealer (AD) Code, an exporter must have all the required documents to ship goods from one destination to another. To export from India to USA, an exporter needs to understand and obtain an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) depending on the particular product category.

What is an ECCN?

An Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) is a five-digit number that includes alphanumeric designations that are part of the Commerce Control List (CCL). The Department of Commerce of the US Government introduced the ECCN to classify U.S. exports and determine whether an export license is required. An ECCN categorizes items based on the nature of the product like commodity type or technology1.

The ECCN is a code specified for various items by governments to identify products that need special control before they are exported from one country to another. Therefore, an exporter needs to identify the ECCN code for the products being shipped to ensure seamless trade. For example, if the products you are exporting are classified as restricted items under ECCN, a few licenses and permissions might be required to process shipment. This is similar to DGFT’s list of restricted items that require specific licenses.

Purpose of an ECCN code

The primary purpose of an ECCN code is to identify products under export control. A range of products like chemicals, computers and electronics are part of the CCL, which are subject to various licensing rules.

Format and structure of an ECCN number

An ECCN number comprises a five-character alphanumeric code, making it easier for the authorities to identify if a product falls under CCL. The format and structure of the ECCN number is2:

The first character in the ECCN code is the category from which the CCL product is. There are 10 categories. For instance, the category '0' stands for the category of nuclear materials, facilities, equipment and miscellaneous items. The second character in the ECCN code is the product group code, which lists five product groups from A-E. For instance, the product group 'A' represents the product group of systems, equipment, and components. The last three characters in the alphanumeric code stand for the reasons why licensing control on that particular type of product or item exists.

Commerce Control List categories:

0 = Nuclear materials, facilities, and equipment (and miscellaneous items)
1 = Materials, chemicals, microorganisms, and toxins
2 = Materials processing
3 = Electronics
4 = Computers
5 = Telecommunications and information security
6 = Sensors and lasers
7 = Navigation and avionics
8 = Marine
9 = Propulsion systems, space vehicles, and related equipment.

Commerce Control List product groups:

A. Systems, equipment, and components
B. Test, inspection, and production equipment
C. Material
D. Software
E. Technology

How to find an ECCN number

There are multiple ways to determine an ECCN number:

From the vendor:

You can get in touch with a manufacturer or a vendor who already has the particular ECCN number you are looking for. As ECCN codes change periodically, this approach may need some cross-checking. Also, you would have to rely on the understanding of the vendor to determine the ECCN code for your business.

Self-classification:

You can find the relevant code for your export product from the CCL database online. You will need to understand the product categories and groups from the CCL list mentioned.

Professional help:

You can also seek expert help to understand how to find an ECCN code.

What is the difference between ECCN and Schedule B?

The Department of Commerce governs both ECCN and Schedule B. The significant differences between ECCN and Schedule B are:

• The Bureau of Industry & Security manages the ECCN, while the Census Bureau manages Schedule B.
• Compared to the five-character alphanumeric code of ECCN, Schedule B is a 10-digit code under HTS.
• The ECCN code is produced to track the export of CCL products, while Schedule B numbers are codes produced to track trade statistics
• ECCN has no direct relation with HTS codes or Harmonized System of Nomenclature (HSN) codes, while Schedule B has a direct connection with them.
• The ECCN code is not required to be submitted to the Automated Export System (AES). However, Schedule B codes are part of the Electronic Export Information (EEI), which exporters need to submit to the AES directly.

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Amazon Global Selling: Your gateway to easy exports

Starting an export business from India requires various documents including Authorized Dealer (AD) Code, Importer of Record and GST Letter of Undertaking (LUT). Amazon Global Selling guides exporters to obtain the necessary export documents by connecting them to respective experts. Whether it is registration, shipping or tax, different licences are required depending on the product category being exported, destination country and origin country – India.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the full form of ECCN?
The full form of ECCN is Export Control Classification Number.
Who issues an ECCN?
The U.S. Department of Commerce issues the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN).
Do all products have ECCN codes?
No. Products that are not on the Commerce Control List do not need an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN). These goods are termed EAR99.
Are HS code and ECCN the same?
HS codes are identification codes given to goods for use in international trade. ECCN codes are given to products that need special control before they are exported from one country to another.
Published on September 10, 2022.

Sources:
1. https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/licensing/commerce-control-list-classification/export-control-classification-number-eccn
2. https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/mirror/220-eco-country-pages/1058-india-export-control-information
3. https://www.trade.gov/how-do-i-determine-my-export-control-classification-number-eccn
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*Map not to scale. The map has been used for design and representational purpose only, it does not depict the geographical boundaries of the country. These do not conform to the external boundaries of India recognized by the Survey of India.

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