On September 19, 2023, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced additional items considered significant to Russian weaponry and are now restricted for export to both Russia and Belarus. In coordination with the United Kingdom and European Union, BIS continues to identify “high-priority items” by their six-digit Harmonized System (HS) codes that Russia seeks to procure for its weapons programs. Items described by these HS codes have been found in multiple Russian weapons systems used against Ukraine. In the September 2023 notice, BIS is more clearly identifying the current 45 high-priority items to highlight that pose a heightened risk of being diverted illegally to Russia because of their importance to Russia’s war efforts. In addition, BIS has added seven new HS codes to the list, including bearings needed for heavy vehicles or other machinery and antennae used for navigation systems.
All items on the list are subject to export controls under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and require a license for export to, reexport to, or transfer within Russia and Belarus. The list is divided into four tiers, according to their “relative degree of criticality”:
- Tier 1: Items of the highest concern due to their critical role in the production of advanced Russian precision-guided weapons systems, Russia’s lack of domestic production, and limited global manufacturers.
- Tier 2: Additional electronics items for which Russia may have some domestic production capability but a preference to source from the United States and its partners and allies.
- Tier 3: A broader range of electronic items, as well as navigation and camera components, that Russia has sourced from foreign companies.
- Tier 3.A: Further electronic components used in Russian weapons systems, with a broader range of suppliers.
- Tier 3.B: Mechanical and other components utilized in Russian weapons systems.
- Tier 4: Manufacturing, production and quality testing equipment for electric components, circuit boards and modules.
BIS has prioritized the nine HS codes in Tier 1 and Tier 2 – covering items such as integrated circuits and radio frequency (RF) transceiver modules – that have extensive commercial applications but have also been found in Russian missiles and drones on the battlefield in Ukraine. See Thompson Hine Update of June 20, 2023 and BIS Notice of May 19, 2023 for additional details. These items are set forth in Supplement No. 7 to Part 746 of the EAR. Tier 3 has now been divided into mechanical and non-mechanical items “to provide greater clarity.” Tier 4, the lowest tier of priority remains unchanged. Tier 3 and 4 items are included in Supplement No. 4 to Part 746 of the EAR. The items in these 45 HS codes include both lower technology items designated EAR99, as well as more sensitive items on the Commerce Control List (CCL), including items designated under Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCNs), 3A001, 3A002, 3A090, 3A991, 3A992, 3B001, 3B991, 3B992, 5A001, 5A991, 6A002, 6A003, 6A993, 7A003, and 7A994.
For all of these high-priority HS codes, BIS notes that exporters are “strongly encouraged to conduct due diligence when encountering the listed HS codes to identify possible third-party intermediaries and attempts at evasion of U.S. export controls.”