What is a Commodity Jurisdiction?

A commodity jurisdiction (CJ) needs to happen when a company exporting goods is either unsure whether their export is regulated by a government agency (the PMDTC in this case), or is unsure how to classify their good prior to export.

What I know about commodity jurisdictions

  • If you have to ask, your export will probably be considered a military export.
  • PMDTC officers tend to err on the side of caution and apply rule 1 liberally.
  • The process is not a quick one.
  • It is extremely difficult to make changes to a commodity jurisdiction ruling.

In my opinion

You should make every effort to determine your item’s classification on your own. This does not mean you should make stuff up and hopefully slip by, but you know your product better than anyone – including the licensing officer reviewing the CJ. If you take this route, be sure your decisions are responsible and that you carefully document the decisions you made and how you justified them.

If you do have to apply for a commodity jurisdiction, include all of the information requested by the PMDTC as well as a clear, concise overview of the product. If you send in 4000 pages of technical information without a summary, your commodity jurisdiction (which will forever affect the course of your export procedure) might not make any sense

From the PMDTC Web Site

The purpose of a commodity jurisdiction (CJ) request is to determine whether an item or service is covered by the U.S. Munitions List (USML) and therefore subject to export controls administered by the U.S. Department of State pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). If after reviewing the USML and other relevant parts of the ITAR, in particular ITAR §120.3 and §120.4, you are unsure of the export jurisdiction of an item or service, you should request a CJ determination.

Here’s a link to the Commodity Jurisdiction Guidelines from the PMDTC (as of the publication date of this article).

One Response to “What is a Commodity Jurisdiction?”

  1. Is there any database, which non-govt types (like me now) can access to get info on whether an item is being licensed by Commerce/BIS from the CCL or by
    State on ITAR? Since I am dealing with IR technology which is on the edge of Commercial/Military Usage/Capabilities, it is frustrating to not be sure,
    even in discussions with the suppliers.

    Sometimes we are dealing with high-end commercial goods, which I would have assumed to be ITAR. But, how to be sure? As noted above, by simply putting in a CJ, you are almost predeterming an ITAR response. I don’t want to put in a CJ just because I don’t know the past history of
    licenses. That is a lot of work. I don’t want to put in for a DDTC license when it is not needed from them. I also don’t want to bother my contacts at Commerce.

    Thus my question regarding any existing database for the commercial guys to look up the license status.
    Appreciate your advice.