One of the most important things that importers need to know about is the difference between HS codes and ECCN. They are commonly used for the classification of goods. Governments use these two types of classifications for ensuring that goods are properly classified. HS codes stand for the Harmonized System codes and ECCN stand for Export Control Classification Numbers. Read on to learn more about HSN code list and ECCN.

National Vs International

The HS codes are widely used around the globe. They are international codes which have been developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) which also maintains the codes in accordance with the latest developments. The International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description & Coding System governs the HS codes. They are used in over 200 countries. The HS code consists of six digits which are the same for goods that belong to any of these countries.

On the other hand, ECCNs are more specific to the US as they are national codes. Even though ECCNs might seem similar to codes which are used by other countries, it is due to the multilateral export control regimes. For instance, the Wassenaar Arrangement is an example of it. The European Union’s ECNs and the ECCNs have the same first character which represents the category and the product group consists of the second character. For instance, if the ECN or the ECCN begins with 4D, its product group would be software and the category would be computers. The Regime Origin (such as Australia Group, Wassenaar Arrangement) are represented by the third character. However, it is not the exact definition for the third character of the ECCN.

Specific Vs Comprehensive

When it comes to the HS codes, they tend to be comprehensive. The main purpose of the HS codes is to classify all types of commodities which are internationally traded. The heading is represented by the first four digits and the following two digits are considered to be the subheading. Thus, all countries have the same first six digits which are in line with the international conventions as maintained by the WCO. As for the following four digits, they are country specific. As much as 98 percent of the commodities that are internationally traded tend to have HS codes.

ECCNs and ECNs identify commodities specifically in line with the export control regulations. A limited number of commodities are targeted and are termed as dual-use items. This means that they are to be used for both military and commercial purposes. However, items which are traded in high numbers internationally are not generally controlled.

Uniqueness Vs Correlation

There have been various efforts made to create a type of correlation table between the two. The TARIC CN-DU Correlation Table is an example of the efforts by the European Commission to provide a correlation table. But, many items do not have a one on one correlation. Thus, the end user or the end use are taken into account before the ECCN of the item can be properly determined.