Changes Made to Harmonize the DCS provisions

The final rules issued by the BIS and State Department – and effective as of November 2016 – alter the text of the existing EAR and ITAR regulations to better harmonize their separate DCS requirements.


Commercial invoice only.

The new rules no longer require a DCS on several different export control documents.  Instead, under the modified EAR and ITAR, a DCS will only be required for the commercial invoice.  The commercial invoice DCS must include the destination country, the end-user, any claimed exemptions, and additional classification information as necessary (for limited item categories).


Tangible items limitation.

A DCS is only required for the shipment of tangible export items.  Intangible items do not require a DCS, though the BIS recommends the inclusion of a DCS as a matter of consistent compliance best-practices.


The harmonized DCS will have the same text.

Existing EAR and ITAR regulations require DCSs with different text, thus creating confusion as to which DCS to include – especially for exporters shipping mixed shipments.  The new EAR and ITAR regulations have been revised to harmonize DCS language between the two.  The text is equally applicable.  As a result, exporters need not worry about which DCS to include for their mixed shipments.  The harmonized DCS will work for either EAR or ITAR-covered items.


Though harmonized, the DCS text will allow for differentiation.

If necessary, the revised DCS text does have the flexibility to allow for differentiation under specific ITAR and EAR provisions – such as the de minimis approval requirements of the EAR.  Though the default DCS text is equally applicable to many ITAR and EAR defense article items, differentiation may be necessary in certain circumstances.


Despite these revisions, exporters of defense articles must still go through the process of obtaining proper authorization and approval for shipping ITAR and EAR-covered items.  Only the export clearance process – specifically, inclusion of a compliant DCS – has been affected by the issuance of these final rules.

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