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The purpose of a commodity jurisdiction (CJ) request is to determine whether an item or service is subject to the export licensing authority of the Department of Commerce or the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is the licensing agency for exports subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), while DDTC licenses defense articles and services covered by the U.S. Munitions List (USML). Items on the USML are subject to further regulations by ITAR and AECA. All CJ requests are submitted and processed by DDTC under procedures established by that office. If after reviewing the USML and other relevant parts of ITAR, in particular ITAR §120.3 and §120.4, a company is still unsure of the export jurisdiction on their item or service, it should request a CJ determination. A response by DDTC to a CJ request determines the proper licensing authority for an item or service. It is not a license or approval to export. A company that wants to export items or perform services while the CJ determination is in the review process, must be registered and obtain the appropriate approval from DDTC prior to export.

Registration with the DDTC is not required prior to submitting a CJ request. However, once a commodity is determined to be a defense article or service covered by the USML, registration is required. A CJ request may also used for consideration of a re-classification of an article or service currently covered by the USML. The Department of State must submit a report to Congress at least 30 days before any item is removed from the USML. Upon written request regarding a CJ request, the DDTC must provide a determination of whether the USML covers the particular article or service. The determination, consistent with §§ 120.2, 120.3, and 120.4, requires the DDTC to consult with the Departments of State, Defense, Commerce and other U.S. Government agencies and industry in appropriate cases.

Submitting a CJ request requires some basic components. The request must identify the article or service subject for consideration. It must include a history of the product’s design, its development and potential uses uses. Brochures, specifications and other documentation related to the article or service is submitted in multiple collated sets to the DDTC. The DDTC will make the determination of whether the article or service has predominant civil applications on a case-by-case basis. The DDTC will take into account: (1) the number, variety and predominance of civil applications; (2) the nature, function and capability of the civil applications; and (3) the nature, function and capability of the military applications. The DDTC will provide a preliminary response within 10 working days of receipt of a complete CJ request. If after 45 days the DDTC has not provided a final commodity jurisdiction determination, the applicant may request in writing to the Director, Center for Defense Trade that this determination be given expedited processing.

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