Purchasing Export-Controlled Items

What do I need to know?

Nearly every item, material, or software (collectively, “products”) in the U.S. is subject to U.S. export controls. Products are listed either on the United States Munitions List (USML) or the Commerce Control List (CCL). If a product is listed on the USML, it is subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). They are federal regulations administered by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls under the U.S. Department of State. The ITAR governs all military, weapons, and space related items and services. If a product is listed on the CCL, it is subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which are administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) under the Department of Commerce.

What is an Export Control Classification Number?

Every product has an export control classification. The classification determines the level and type of export restrictions. Products listed on the USML are highly controlled and have Roman numeral export classifications, such as XII*(b)(3)(ii)(A). If the product cannot be found on the USML, we look to the CCL to determine if a classification exists.

Products listed on the CCL will generally have a export control classification number (ECCN, such as 3C005 or 6A003. Many products that are used on a daily basis have an export control classification number of “EAR99”, which is a catch-all designation for products subject to the EAR but not listed on the CCL.

How do I know if a product I am purchasing or receiving is export-controlled?

Most daily-use products that are purchased or received at USU are likely classified as “EAR99” (pens, test tubes, autoclaves, etc.).  However, don’t assume that just because a product is cheap or can easily be purchased online, it is “EAR99”, and is not listed on the CCL or USML.  Many commercially available products we use at the University, including laptops, cell phones, smart phones, GPS systems, telescopes, and drones, are, in fact, listed on the CCL. Moreover, some commercial off-the-shelf products, such as thermal imaging cameras, precision gyroscopes, and focal plane arrays are highly controlled.

Whenever you are purchasing or receiving a product, you should ask the vendor if the product is export regulated. If so, ask the vendor to provide you the classification number. If you need assistance, please contact the University’s Export Compliance Officer (ECO).

What are the Red Flags when buying or receiving products?

  • Read the sales terms and conditions! If you see any reference to “export controls” or “compliance with export controls”, verify the product’s export classification. While sales terms and conditions sometimes include pro-forma export control language, more often than not there is a reason this language is added. The vendor may be selling export-controlled products.
  • Look at the Purchase Order, the Company Quote, or Order Summary. Does it contain any reference to “export controls” or perhaps the “ITAR”? Sometimes, vendors will explicitly state on the PO or sales quote that the product you are about to procure is export controlled.
  • When products arrive, check the packaging for any reference to “export controls” or “export control classification numbers”.
  • The vendor or sender of the product requests that you sign an “End-User” certification or some other document that requires you to certify the product’s end-use and end-user. Such certifications are usually an indication that the product is controlled. If you are asked to sign an “end-user” certificate, please contact the ECO. Only the DRIC is authorized to sign the “end-user” certificate.
  • If you see any references to any of the above red flags, contact the ECO as soon as possible.