ECCN Classification and Export Compliance: Ways of Doing It More Efficiently

January 9th, 2019 by admin

Many of the U.S. based exporters and organizations involved in the international trade are aware of how important it is to follow the US federal regulations regarding exports of the goods and technology.

However, achieving compliance is not quite easy and smooth. In lack of the formal procedures that are carefully crafted with several steps of a successful program, organizations can find themselves non-compliant with the regulations immediately. Since it’s the matter of the national security, no one can just bow out of the written program and guidelines and leave the compliance in the hands of a fate. After all, the export control regulations were put together for the protection of the national security interests.

What is an ECCN and why it is important?

The ECCN (i.e., Export Control Classification Number) must be assigned to the goods, software and technology before their export and transfer. The ECCN for any given product is listed under specific categories of the Commerce Control List (CCL), and can vary based on product’s functionality, feature, and technical parameters. Further, the ECCN classification helps in identifying whether the product or technology requires an export license or if there is any license exception. Each of the categories encompasses various items on the CCL, but the items that aren’t listed on the CCL receive an ECCN of “EAR99”.

Conventional ECCN Determination Methods

How to determine the ECCN? Well, the major three methods are:

1. Identify the source. You can ask the manufacturer, developer, or producer for the ECCN of the item. Since the ECCN is subject to change, you should ensure that you have the current one.

2. Classifying it on your own. For that, you will need an in-depth technical understanding of the item’s features, content and functionality. Moreover, you have to have a familiarity with the CCL’s format and structure.

3. Send a request to BIS. With the help of CIN or Company Identification Number and PIN or Personal Identification Number, you may send an official classification request to the Department of Commerce – Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

As a next step you will need to know whether the export of product/technology require an export license or not. The ECCN that you determined is the key to that next step.

ECCN Determination Methods

Technology has literally transformed the way the world functions, especially through automation, speed, and accuracy.

Notably, the trade compliance consultants have made lives easier for companies and organizations. In fact, the development of software for ECCN and HTS classification has fast-tracked the performances of these companies.

In order to determine the controls, one will need to first classify the commodity, technology or software under the EAR and ITAR regulations. Therefore, the software that enables this procedure in a quick and efficient manner is extremely helpful.

Recently, the software vendors have introduced web-based solutions for the companies that have a limited budget which cannot hire a consultant or an expert. Powered by such web-based software, the exporters and importers can easily identify the items after answering a certain number of questions. Not just that, the classification results are stored for record retention purposes. The users of the software will access elaborated trade content or information in the form of definitions, duty rates, special notes, country charts, licensing requirements, and exceptions, etc.

Overall, the web-based solutions invigorate the performance of an organization, helping them increase their efficiency with rare fluctuations. As a result, the businesses won’t suffer indefinite delays of searches, communications, classifications, etc.

Florida Phosphate Mining In Sovereignty Lands

January 2nd, 2019 by admin

Since the turn of the twentieth century, the phosphate industry purchased large tracts of land in west central Florida, including the upper Peace River watershed. Florida’s phosphate industry is mining in the Peace River basin, which also include “sovereignty lands”. Florida’s state agencies charged with “permitting” the phosphate industry to strip mine in the Peace River region may be doing so illegally based on the Public Trust Doctrine (3). Sovereignty lands are expressly public in Florida and cannot be altered in any way that disrupts natural processes.

Much of west central Florida landscape consists of lowlands and marshlands. Florida’s highest court historically rules against claims of “swamp deeds” and claims of “overflow lands” in the Peace River watershed because the Peace River is defined as a “navigable waterway.” The argument by Florida’s Supreme Court against swamp deeds and overflow lands is based on The Public Trust Doctrine of Florida. The Court refers to the Public Trust Doctrine in cases including marshlands, lowlands, and flood lands as well.

The Court offers “examples of sovereignty lands”. They can be shallow vegetated shores that are submerged during the rainy season and are lower than the high water boundary surrounding all water bodies in question (lakes, rivers) and are considered “sovereignty lands” by definition based on The Public Trust Doctrine. The Court’s rulings also reflect the riparian lands on the farthest reaches of the navigable waterway. The Court explained areas not always submerged on the outer edges of the waterway were still riparian in nature and sovereignty lands in fact because they lie below the high water marks of the water body in question. In this case, the water body in question is the Peace River and watershed.

In the cases heard by the Florida Supreme Court concerning sovereignty lands; the Court rejects all claims of deeds to properties on related navigable waterways and riparian lands or “sovereign lands.” The Court rejects these property deeds when the agencies involved in selling the land have no right to “convey sovereignty lands”, based on The Public Trust Doctrine, a constitutional doctrine. Meaning large tracts of land sold to the phosphate industry may not be legal to sell because “these” large tracts of land in west central Florida are “sovereignty lands” based on the Peace River watershed and The Public Trust Doctrine.

The definition of sovereignty lands are those lands beneath navigable water bodies in question. Ownership of sovereignty lands is not based on a legal description, but on the nature of the water body in question. Navigable waterways are defined by the water body’s natural characteristics, not by any record of deed or tittle all of which are discussed in The Public Trust Doctrine. Florida’s navigable waterways are clearly established by the Public Trust Doctrine and Florida’s Supreme Court rulings on the subject.

The Peace River watershed is known to be a public navigable “water body” in west central Florida. In areas where the landscape is flat, much of these water bodies do not have a permanent location marked on the ground for high and low watermarks because the watermarks are ambulatory in nature. Historically, they shift gradually, responding to natural processes like erosion or accretion (build up). In cases where the high or low water marks are difficult to ascertain, due to natural causes, the Florida Supreme Court ruled this type of landscape as riparian (public) in nature or sovereignty lands.

The mighty phosphate dragline is the culprit, severely altering or removing navigable waterways and sovereignty lands in west central Florida strip mining operations. Operators are instructed by operations’ managers to remove all in their path to reach the valuable phosphate ore just beneath the “sovereignty lands” and “navigable” water bodies.

Many large tracts of land sold to the phosphate industry in west-central Florida hold navigable waterways and sovereignty lands. This is no secret; all of west central Florida mining operations can be seen from Google© Maps. However, the property may have been conveyed illegally. The Peace River watershed covers almost 2500 square miles. The Upper Peace River watershed encompasses Bartow, Mulberry, and, Pinecrest, FL phosphate facilities. (2) The phosphate facilities in Bartow and Mulberry are two of the largest strip mining operations in the United States.

It is very probable Florida’s phosphate industry has a negative (1) impact on the Peace River watershed because production facilities are located within the boundaries of the Peace River watershed. Historically, the facilities in Mulberry and Bartow cause severe environmental impacts based on billions of gallons of highly toxic waste by-product “releases” over time from each facility.

It may be “impossible” for Florida’s phosphate industry “not” to have a severe negative impact on the Peace River watershed. The particular points mentioned against the phosphate industry are controversial if not unknowingly illegal based on the Public Trust Doctrine and “sovereignty lands” doctrine. However, ignorance is no excuse for breaking laws.

Reference

1. Review of the EPA’s Economic Analysis of Final… – nap.edu/read/13376/chapter/3.

2. Additional Phosphate Mining Information. – mymanatee.org/home/government/departments/parks-and-recreation/natural-resources/environmental-protection/mining-services/phosphate-mining-overview/additional-phosphate-mining-information.HTML.

3. The Public Trust Doctrine: Historic Protection for Florida’s Navigable… – floridabar.org/divcom/jn/jnjournal01.nsf/Author/8D98D298C0060C0785256B110050FFB7.

Standardization, Uncertainty and Our Federal Government Regulators

December 26th, 2018 by admin

Our Federal Government should stay out of regulations that purposely and adversely affect one competitor in industry for the benefit of another – unfortunately with our lobbyists in Washington DC, that’s just not what happens. We need standardization for our civilization, but must be very careful how we legislate that, or determine such parameters.

All too often those closest to the power base get their way over their marketplace competition. It’s free-enterprise and the consumers who lose, while one group of investors and executives get rich – then are all too willing to return the favor in campaign contributions to keep that gravy train hovering its Maglev Track to future profits.

Not long ago we were discussing this issue at our Think Tank and think tanker Andrew stated:

“The reason why I believe this is such an important issue is a very simple concept. The Federal Government is constantly flip flopping back and forth from one party to another, and it could actually be toxic for a business – absolutely a nightmare. When centralized governments flip flop back and forth, it creates uncertainty for business owners.”

True enough, still, if our Federal Government was running its business with integrity, we wouldn’t have to worry about that. Today, we have too much crony-capitalism and hijacking of the political process. The Obama Administration is quite troubling in that regard, from a business person’s perspective, unless you are on the inside track I suppose, then you get all the juice and your competitors get crushed, as they pick winners and losers.

Are things better at the state level? Yes and no, overall perhaps, however, some states are completely arbitrary with how they enforce the laws. So, we never sold a franchise in TX to anyone who wasn’t and Aggie! We are not stupid, we know the drill. Wait, we once did sell a franchise to a non-Aggie, but he didn’t last long.

Perhaps the worst thing in business is uncertainty, because if you don’t know what you are dealing with it’s hard to allocate large amounts of capital, because you simply cannot ascertain if you can ever achieve a reasonable ROI, and the uncertainty adds to the risks, thus, lessens the potential rewards.

Having some standardization regulations help alleviate uncertainty, and all market players know what they are dealing with, as long as there is trust in the stability of those standards moving forward. Business, both small and large, and entire industries must be able to trust the government at all levels and the political apparatus – if not all bets are off. Of course this is part common sense, part warning, and part philosophy. Be Great, Don’t Hesitate.

Harbour Safety

December 19th, 2018 by admin

Safety signs are very important even near the water area. There are quite a lot of things which you need to be careful about. Therefore, these warning signs are extremely necessary to save people’s lives.

These signs would inform the slipway users about all the possible hazards, local water and sea safety conditions, mandatory and also prohibited actions. You have a lot of variety in this and you can choose after deciding which signs are appropriate for your area and should be placed in close proximity to slipways.

Access signs

These signs are in combination of blue and white. This signs comes with either a single panel design or a double panel design. The single panel access sign is the smallest access sign and is used to list a few of the safety concerns along with the image of a small water area. The double paneled style can display large scale maps along with additional safety symbols.

The reminders and safety tips given by these signs are to wear a life jacket when you are at sea. Before entering the water you should always check the weather conditions and the tides of the sea. Checking the fuel and engine power is a must and also it is necessary to carry a VHF radio.

Also, emergency numbers are given on these signs to get instant help from if anything goes wrong or any accident happens.

Reminder signs

This sign remind users of the potential risks of either using the slipway or being at sea. This sign should be fixed in the best suited position at the harbor like at the railing or a wall or even near the washroom.

These signs informs people about the do’s and the don’ts at the harbor for their own safety. They put a bar on the speed limit and anyone chooses not to follow this then they are responsible for any accident which takes place with them.

These signs comes with a clear caption along with one image which makes it quite clear to anyone what they are supposed to do and what they are not supposed to do. Drinking and driving the watercraft is strictly prohibited. Also there are signs in yellow colours which are a warning signals warning people about either the strong currents or asking people to beware of the watercraft.

Daily condition signs

This sign is used to inform everyone about the daily weather condition at the port. This helps everybody to decide if it safe to enter the water areas or not. It is a white wipe board in which you can change the information daily.

Supplement signs

For these single sided signs, you need to use a plate or a tray sign. These signs have a radius corner along with smooth edges, this is extremely important for the safety reasons only if it a plate or a tray sign.

Hence, the warning signs are a must to ensure the harbor safety.