Do NOT state “domestic shipment only” or “not an export approval” on an 8130-3 tag

On June 28 the FAA issued a policy memo (AIR100-16-110-PM04) that forbade parties from stating “domestic shipment only” or “not an export approval” on the 8130-3 tag.

“This memorandum provides clarification on the use of “domestic shipment only” and “not an export approval” in block 12 of FAA Form 8130-3 (hereafter, tags). Inspectors, designees, delegated organizations, and persons authorized in accordance with a production approval holder’s approved quality system to issue tags are directed to not add “domestic shipment only” and “not an export approval” to block 12.”

This language tended to impede subsequent exports.  Many people mistakenly thought that this language was meant to prevent a subsequent export.

History

Use of this sort of language also ignored the original purpose of the “domestic tag.”  It was originally meant to create a kludge that made 8130-3 tags available to exporters.  It was called a “domestic” tag because it only certified compliance to domestic US standards, and not to any special import requirements of an importing nation.

Years ago, distributors were unable to obtain an export tag for parts. The reason for this began in 1963, the FAA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish the rules for export airworthiness approvals (Subpart L of 14 C.F.R. Part 21).   They classified the world of aircraft assets into three classes:

(1) A Class I product is a complete aircraft, aircraft engine, or propeller, which—

(i) Has been type certificated in accordance with the applicable Federal Aviation Regulations and for which Federal Aviation Specifications or type certificate data sheets have been issued;
or
(ii) Is identical to a type certificated product specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section in all respects except as is otherwise acceptable to the civil aviation authority of the importing state.

(2) A Class II product is a major component of a Class I product (e.g., wings, fuselages, empennage assemblies, landing gears, power transmissions, control surfaces, etc), the failure of which would jeopardize the safety of a Class I product; or any part, material, or appliance, approved and manufactured under the Technical Standard Order (TSO) system in the ‘‘C’’ series.

(3) A Class III product is any part or component which is not a Class I or Class II product and includes standard parts, i.e., those designated as AN, NAS, SAE, etc.

This can be found today in older versions of the Code of Federal Regulations.  But this distinction no longer exists in the modern regulations.

The original 1963 NPRM suggested that export airworthiness approvals would be available for Class I and Class II products. It explained that export airworthiness approvals would not be necessary for Class III products, and that exporters could self-certify airworthiness with respect to those units.   This dramatically limited the impact of the proposed rule, because most articles fell into class III.

During the comment period for this new rule, a manufacturer wrote to the FAA and said that it could foresee a possible need in the future to apply for Class III export airworthiness approvals for its own articles.  The stated purpose of the rule was to facilitate trade, so when the Final Rule was published in 1964, the FAA added a clause stating that manufacturers could also apply for Class III export airworthiness approvals in order to meet the request of the commenter.  This was 30 years before ASA existed, so ASA was not around to broaden the language to include non-manufacturer exporters.

Years later, as the export 8130-3 tag became more popular in international commerce, and the FAA signed international agreements promising to provide the 8130-3 tags with exports,the distribution community began to see a need for the tags to facilitate their trade.  But the regulatory language only permitted manufacturers to apply for the export 8130-3 tag.  So the “domestic tag” was born in order to provide a tag that distributors could seek.  The “domestic tag” only certified compliance to US domestic standards – it did not certify compliance to any special import standards of any importing nation (it was up to the exporter to address such conditions, and at the time foreign trading partners were happy to take this tag).

The domestic tag also quickly became popular among domestic users in the US (notably, Northwest Airlines in the late 1990s was an early proponent of the use of the 8130-3 tag for domestic transactions).

For a short time, this limiting language (“domestic shipment only”) actually appeared in an earlier version of Order 8130.21. ASA sought clarification from FAA Management at the time.  We pointed out that the original purpose was to facilitate export for distributors, and FAA Management agreed that this language was inappropriate.   FAA Management confirmed that the inclusion of that language had been a mistake, because it contradicted the original purpose of the domestic tag.

In order to discern the reason for this errant language, FAA Management called in the employee who was responsible for the text of the Order and asked “why did you include this language?”  The FAA employee’s reply was to shrug his shoulders and say “I don’t know … it seemed like a good idea at the time.”  The language was removed from the next revision of 8130.21, but it continued to find its way into 8130-3 tags.

Over the years, the FAA has recognized that this language impeded export transactions without offering any redeeming value.  The policy memo closes the loop on this language by forbidding it.

ASA members who encounter parties who want to print “domestic shipment only” or “not an export approval” in block 12 of FAA Form 8130-3, should draw the issuing party’s attention to this FAA policy memo.

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About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association.

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