I’m sometimes asked by clients contemplating export transactions to help them gauge their licensing burden – in time and money – by classifying items they’re interested in exporting. The most reliable way to classify items (without access to the engineers who designed them) is to ask the vendors that sell them to provide the applicable ECCNs. As recently as two years ago, this was an onerous task. Corporate switchboards had no idea where export compliance might be handled, let alone what an Export Control Classification Number might be.
Now, however, while it’s only the occasional switchboard that’s clued in, more and more companies are making their classification matrices available online. This trend – if it is one – is most noticeable in the electronics and telecom fields, where many equivalent or alternative components are on offer from a number of companies. So the making of export control information more conveniently available may now be seen as one way to increase competitive sales advantage.