Export Control Organisation
An export licence is needed before the export of controlled military goods, software and technology and items on the UK dual-use list from the United Kingdom to another country. These items are listed in Schedule 2 and 3 to the Export Control Order 2008, as amended.
A trade control licence is needed before engaging in certain activities that involve:
- the supply or delivery of certain items from one country to another
- the agreement to supply or deliver certain items from one country to another
- any activity that will promote the supply or delivery of certain items from one country to another
You can assess your goods, software and technology against the UK Strategic Export Control Lists to determine whether or not they are controlled.
The OGEL and Goods Checker Tools can be used to:
- help determine if the items are controlled
- identify the appropriate control entry
Controlled military items
Controlled military items include physical goods, software and technology (specific technical information and data), specially designed or modified for military use. They are specified in Schedule 2 to the Export Control Order 2008, as amended.
Controlled dual-use items
UK controlled dual-use items are specified in Schedule 3 to the Export Control Order 2008. They are not necessarily specially designed or modified for military use.
Controlled dual-use items include:
- firearms and ammunition
- security and paramilitary police equipment
- riot-control vehicles
- chemical and biological agents
- explosives and energetic material
- explosive detection equipment requiring export authorisation to certain destinations
- firings sets and detonators
- certain materials, chemicals and micro-organisms
- tropospheric scatter communications equipment
- vessels and aircraft requiring authorisation to certain destinations
- related technology for controlled goods and certain firearms not otherwise specified in Schedule 2 to the Export Control Order 2008, as amended
You can find the complete list on the UK Strategic Export Control Lists.
When you need an export licence
You must have an export licence if you are exporting items that are on the UK Strategic Export Control Lists and you are in the UK, or a UK residence overseas.
You can apply for a licence through SPIRE.
Trade controls and arranging sales or movements
A trade control licence is required for activities subject to trade controls in the UK or for a UK person outside of the UK.
The term UK person as used in the Export Control Order 2008, is defined in s.11 of the Export Control Act 2002 as a United Kingdom national, a Scottish partnership or a body incorporated under the law of any part of the United Kingdom. A United Kingdom national is an individual who is: (a) a British citizen, a British Overseas Territories citizen, a British National (Overseas) or a British Overseas citizen; (b) a person who under the British Nationality Act 1981 (c. 61) is a British subject; or (c) a British protected person within the meaning of that Act.
Trade controls apply to specific activities, including brokering, that involve certain controlled goods. The trade control legislation imposes different restrictions to different categories of goods. These are contained in Part 4 of the Export Control Order 2008, as amended.
Goods which are subject to trade controls are specified in category A, category B or category C, of Schedule 1 to the Export Control Order 2008, as amended.
Trade controls do not apply to ML21 or ML22 (software and technology).
A trade control licence is also required for specific activities involving goods subject to trade controls from one third country to another third country that is an embargoed destination.
There are also controls related to brokering of military and other items contained in trade sanctions. Read guidance on sanctions and embargoes.
Goods for which you cannot arrange sales or movement (category A goods)
There is a ban on trade controlled activities relating to category A goods which includes:
- cluster missions, explosive submunitions and explosive bomblets
- goods for the execution of human beings
- torture goods, such as: electric shock batons, electric chairs, drug injection electric-shock belts, leg irons and sting sticks
A full list of category A goods is contained in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Export Control Order 2008, as amended.
For goods in category A, or where the activity is to an embargoed destination, you can not supply or deliver, agree to supply or deliver or do any activity that will promote the supply or delivery of category A goods.
- arranging, or agreeing to, the transfer, acquisition or disposal of goods
- general advertising and promotion (for example placing advertisements)
- arranging or providing freight or transport services
- finance, financial services, insurance or reinsurance services
- arranging or negotiating contracts or contract promotion activity
A contract promotion activity means any act calculated to promote the arrangement or negotiation of a contract for the acquisition, disposal or movement of goods or any agreement to do such an act.
This applies in cases where you know or have reason to believe that such action or actions will, or even may, result in the removal of those goods from one third country to another third country.
Restrictions on category A goods apply to any company or a person from within the UK (whether or not they are a UK person) or by any UK person operating overseas, whether directly or indirectly.
Goods subject to strict trade controls (category B goods)
There are strict trade controls on activities relating to category B goods.
These controls apply to goods and components including:
- small arms and light weapons (SALWs) within ML1 and ML2
- accessories and ammunition for SALWs in ML1 and ML2
- light weapons within ML4
- ammunition for light weapons within ML4
- hand grenades specified in ML4
- anti-vehicle landmines
- combat aircraft and attack helicopters within ML10
- warships within ML9
- long range missiles (LRMs) with a range over 300km
- unmanned air vehicles (UAVs)
- man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) and accessories, ammunition, and specially designed components therefore
- other missiles and missile launchers
- battle tanks and armoured vehicles within ML6
- production equipment specially designed for MANPADS, including field test equipment specially designed for MANPADS and specialised training equipment and simulators for MANPADS
A trade control licence is required to:
- supply or deliver category B goods
- agree to supply or deliver