Classification of commodities for export compliance can indeed be a difficult task. At TSI Global Consulting we had an interesting case this week. We were approached by an aircraft parts exporter to classify a few parts for potential export to Latin America. Most of the parts were rather routine and then we came across a part named “fire extinguisher bottle for Bell Helicopter.”  After researching the part, we initially came to a conclusion that it had to be either EAR99 or if it was produced for a military helicopter it would fit squarely into the new series 600 ECCN 9A610.y26. Since the particular Bell helicopter that this part is going to be used on is a civil helicopter it was looking more and more like an EAR99 or perhaps a 9A992. But then we noted that a reputable parts database lists the part number as  [“DEMIL Code “B”] which is a demilitarization code maintained by the Department of Defense for items listed on the U.S. Munitions List. To complicate matters, when we called the part manufacturer their export compliance staff gave us a verbal confirmation that this part falls under ECCN 1C992.i, a category that does not require a license for Latin America, but is controlled for regional stability if exported to Iraq! The item is described as:

Commercial charges and devices containing energetic materials, n.e.s. and nitrogen trifluoride in a gaseous state (see List of Items Controlled).

Our work at TSI Global Consulting on classifying this part will obviously be stretching into next week, but suffice it say, if you think it is a simple fire extinguisher and you look at the Commerce Control List and see an ECCN for “fire extinguishers” (see 9A610.y26) better not stop there. Did you ever think that it may only be a fire extinguisher if it is the empty bottle not yet filled with chemicals. My tip for the day is, that it is best to look into the chemical composition of what the bottle contains. There used to be a saying if it looks like a dog and smells like a dog than it is a dog, but in the world of export control that just may not be the case.

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