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What is an ECCN Number

Shipping Terms
4 min read
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For those with little or no prior experience shipping internationally, the many documents, numbers, codes, and terminologies can get overwhelming. But they only look complicated at first glance. Diving into their meanings and purposes when it comes to shipping will help you understand them better, as well as assist in the successful fulfillment of your shipping process.


One of the things that is commonly used in international shipping is the ECCN number. You might have encountered it before but didn’t know what it meant. In this article, we talk about the ECCN number, what it is, what it’s for, and its other characteristics. Learn all about it to make your next shipment easier and more manageable.


What is an ECCN Number?


ECCN is short for an Export Control Classification Number, a five-digit code consisting of alphabets and numbers that are highlighted in a commerce control list.


What is an ECCN Number Used For?


The ECCN number is a categorization used by the parties involved to classify shipments made from the U.S. This helps customs authorities determine if the Department of Commerce needs to issue an export license, as well as determine which products are dual-use items for export control purposes.


If the ECCN code identifies a product as under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) or the U.S. Department of Commerce, the export needs to be reported.


Reading and Making Sense of the ECCN Code


An ECCN code groups different commodities exported by the U.S. according to their nature and technical parameters. There are ten different classifications in the commerce control list category, which are divided into five groups of products.


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

Product Groups


  • A. Systems, Equipment and Components
  • B. Test, Inspection and Production Equipment
  • C. Material
  • D. Software
  • E. Technology

Each digit or character in an ECCN number reflects the group in which the export is categorized. The first character of an ECCN code corresponds to the broader characteristic or group of the product. This can be a general identifier, such as electronics, nuclear materials, foodstuff, etc. The second character, on the other hand, represents its more specific product group, i.e. software, material, etc.


The EAR99


Some items may be designated as EAR99 instead of having an ECCN code. These are goods that are not on the commerce control list but fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Products classified under EAR99, in general, do not require a license for export unless the import destination is to a country of concern, embargoed or sanctioned country, or if the product is for a prohibited end-use.


What is the Difference Between ECCN and Schedule B?


An ECCN and Schedule B are often confused to be one and the same. However, they are different codes in international shipment and differ in terms of purpose and function. The ECCN number classifies goods and allows easier identification of dual-use items for export control. It is included in the Commerce Control List and involves the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Bureau of Industry and Security.


On the other hand, a Schedule B number is a 10-digit code that classifies physical goods for export from the United States to another country. It is used by the Bureau of Census for the purpose of collecting statistics on trade between the U.S. and other countries.

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