An English Solicitor & Israeli Lawyer Serving Corporate & Commercial Clients in Both Jurisdictions

U.K. Export Controls

U.K. Strategic Export Controls

The UK’s controls over the export of various strategic goods and technology are found in the Export Control Act of 2002, the Export Control Order of 2008 and European Union legislation, including Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009, which is known as the EU Dual Use Regulation and Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 known as the EU Regulation on Torture.

Collectively, these laws and regulations provide a number of lists of goods and technology that are controlled for export purposes, primarily:

  • The U.K. Military List – a list of goods and technology that are solely used for military purposes
  • The U.K. Dual Use List – a list of goods and technology that have both civilian and military application

Other lists include the EU Human Rights List, U.K. Security and Human Rights List, U.K. Radioactive Source List and the EU Dual Use List.

You can obtain all of the lists in full and a link to a consolidated list maintained by the U.K. Government here

The lists are devised and the export control laws designed in order to assure that the U.K. maintains its strategic advantages, protects its national interests and complies with various international regimes such as:

  • The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) – an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries to prevent the proliferation of missiles and missile technology (including unmanned aerial vehicles)
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies – a regime made up of 41 countries promoting greater transparency in the trade of military and dual use goods and technology.
  • The Nuclear Suppliers Group –a group of 48 nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
  • The Australia Group – an informal regime of 42 countries aimed at controlling the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons

Generally, businesses wishing to export from the U.K. any goods or technology that are caught by any of the control lists must obtain appropriate export licenses from the Export Control Organisation (ECO) of the U.K. Government’s Department for International Trade. Exporters may obtain:

  • Standard Individual Export licenses (SIELs) – granting permission to export specific goods or technology to a specific destination overseas for a specific consignee and end-user. The goods must also be of the same quantity and value as stated on the license. To obtain a SIEL you must apply to the ECO.
  • Open Individual Export licenses (OIELs) – granting permission for multiple exports of specific goods or technology to specific destinations overseas. The exporter must show a clear business need for using an OIEL rather than a SIEL and that there are no appropriate OGELs (see below) available. Exporters wishing to obtain an OIEL must apply to the ECO. There are seven different types of OIELs that are available for various purposes and these OIELs cover exports of:
    • goods and technology on the U.K.’s Military List
    • goods and technology on the U.K.’s Dual Use List
    • firearms from U.K. gun dealers of approved types of firearms and ammunition to other gun dealers within the EU
    • goods and technology outside the EU and certain other destinations of certain cryptographic hardware or software
    • controlled items for use exclusively in offshore installations and associated vessels within the UK sector of the continental shelf
    • equipment used for protection by journalists and aid workers working abroad
    • goodsfor through life support of military platforms and major equipment.
  • Open General Export Licenses (OGELs) – OGELs are pre-published export licenses available for U.K. exporters. Exporters need not make individual applications to the ECO, but must be registered with the ECO for the relevant OGEL. An OGELmay only be used when the goods, destination and intended uses all fall within the scope of the OGEL. The exporter must also comply with all other terms of the OGEL. There are a number of OGELs available which fall into the following seven categories:
    • Dual Use OGELs
    • European Union General Export Authorisations – the equivalent of a UK OGEL for the export of certain specified items to certain named non-EU destinations
    • Military Goods OGELs
    • Transhipment OGELs – actually known as OGTLs. OGTLsallow certain goods to be shipped from one country to another country via the U.K.
    • Open General Trade Control Licenses – or OGTCLs. OGTCLs allow UK persons to broker deals between third countries involving certain controlled goods
    • Other OGELs – this is really a residuary category for OGELs that do not fall neatly into one of the other categories.

How Gil Rosen Law can assist U.K. exporters in connection with U.K. export controls.

My work in this area includes:

  • Assisting exporters to determine whether their goods fall under any of the control lists
  • Helping exporters to determine whether a proposed export falls under an applicable OGEL
  • Helping with proper completion of export license applications
  • Advising on compliance with the terms of licenses, including ensuring proper record keeping in connection with controlled export transactions is maintained and providing due notification to the ECO when required by law and the terms of licenses
  • Advising in connection with drafting and negotiation of applicable commercial agreements, ensuring that they do not create legally binding obligations to complete sales until appropriate export licenses have been obtained by the seller
  • Creating and adopting appropriate corporate wide procedures that ensureall personnel are fully informed of their obligations in connection with the export control laws and terms of export licenses.

Violations of the UK export control laws may amount to criminal offenses punishable in serious cases by lengthy prison terms. Fines are also payable for violations, existing export licenses may be revoked and the ECO may suspend further export privileges.

Case Studies

  • I advised a client in connection with the export of components falling under the U.K. Dual Use List,with which end-user certifications were required from the foreign company in connection with an application for a SIEL. Applications for SIELs normally require the exporter to request from the foreign purchaser either an End-User Undertaking or a Stockist Undertaking, depending on the specific transaction. Sometimes the first foreign recipient or consignee will also be required to obtain an appropriate undertaking from their customer. My client was the foreign purchaser of the goods and I advised them on the applications of the rules to them and how to complete the right forms.
  • I assisted a client to determine that their products do not fall under any of the strategic control lists. The work required detailed consultations with the client’s technical personnel in order to verify whether the product meets various technical specifications set out in the control lists. Upon completion of the work, the conclusions were set out in a written legal opinion.

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