An export license is a legal document granted by a government that permits the exports of specific goods. These may include goods that are prohibited, dangerous, or which are sensitive in nature. Typically issued by the relevant government agencies after reviewing the export transaction, the license is an essential tool for regulating the exchange of goods, managing foreign exchange, and generating revenue.
In the U.S., for example, the exporter should find out which federal department has jurisdiction over the intended export to determine if a license is necessary. They can use tools such as the Commerce Control List (CCL), which assigns a five-character Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) to each product category and group based on its technical parameters and potential applications.
While it’s noteworthy that most exports do not require a special license, it is up to the exporter to perform their “due diligence” to investigate the end-use of the product to confirm the need for it. For U.S. exporters, this means checking the lists of parties of concern published by the U.S. government and ensuring that the export transaction does not violate any U.S. export laws or regulations.