BIS Provides Two Web-Based Decision Tools

BIS is ramping up its outreach efforts to raise awareness and solicit feedback on the export control reform measures scheduled to go into effect on October 15.  Regular webinars are being held on Wednesdays to present different aspects of the reform and to field industry questions.

On May 15, we listened to the session regarding the two new web-based decision tools that will assist users in understanding and applying the Commerce Control List [CCL] Order of Review (Supplement No. 4 to EAR Part 774) and the new “Specially Designed” Definition (EAR Sec. 772.1), both essential for exporters to classify their products.

The CCL Order of Review Decision Tool (hereafter “the ORD Tool”) will assist users in understanding the new 600 series which has been dedicated for military items which will be moving from the USML to the CCL and be licensed by BIS.

  • The ORD Tool helps users identify the logical steps to follow when reviewing the CCL (Supplement No. 1 to EAR Part 774) and identifying items subject to the EAR.
  • The ORD Tool also provides links to reference info and guidance for how to classify items in light of the addition of the 600 series and the new definition of “specially designed.”
  • The ORD Tool uses a series of questions that enable exporters to determine:
    • Is it subject to the EAR?
    • Is it “specially designed?”  If uncertain, a link is provided to the next tool.
    • Does it meet the criteria of a 600 series ECCN?

The second tool, the “Specially Designed” Decision Tool (the SD Tool), assists users in determining if an item will be designated as “specially designed” using the new BIS definition.

  • The SD tool helps users identify the steps to follow when reviewing the Commerce Control List to determine if an item is specially designed or excluded from control under that particular entry.
  • The SD tool asks a logical series of questions directly related to the relevant sections of the CFR about the parameters for specially designed components, breaking them down into Yes or No questions.
  • Useful guidance is provided that enables users to reference relevant documents.

Bottom Line: Both tools are good, but users need a degree of familiarity with the vernacular and logic of the EAR to utilize them with confidence. Also, these tools  may not be flexible enough in the programming to answer the tough, specific questions that often arise.  The formulaic responses may not address the technical and legal nuances fully or help users understand, and navigate through, the fine lines between various ECCNs.

Link to the Decision Tools:

http://beta-www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/decision-tree-tools

Link to the BIS Webinars:

http://beta-www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/about-bis/newsroom/export-control-reform-news/8-bis/33-export-control-reform-ecr