Export controls apply to physical goods or the transfer of software, data, technology, or know how which has a military application. The main areas of concern are military technology and technologies that can be used in nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons or their means of delivery. The transfer can be physical or electronic. Distribution is from the UK to the destination outside the UK.
There are three primary categories of control:
- Military items
Items with a specific military application to be exported outside the UK fall into this category. The UK Consolidated List references the items that are controlled, including military items. If your item is on this list, then you need to obtain an export licence prior to transfer. If it is not on the list, you may need a licence under 3. below.
Some examples from the military list are: thermal imaging devices; target acquisition and tracking systems; phased-array radar antennae; and weapon-locating systems.
- Dual use items
Items with a legitimate civilian application which also have military application, to be exported outside the EU, fall into this category. The UK Consolidated List includes dual use items. If your item is on this list, then you need to obtain an export licence prior to transfer. If it is not on the list, you may need a licence under 3. below.
However, if your dual use item is listed in Annex IV of the control list, then you will need to obtain an export licence prior to transfer within the EU.
Some examples of dual use items: dual-use parts and materials for nuclear reactors; chemicals (eg precursors for toxic chemical agents); micro-organisms & toxins (eg live cultures of lassa fever virus, apart from vaccines); navigation and avionics (eg continuous output accelerometers); unmanned aerial vehicles and associated technology.
- End use
Where goods are not listed on the ECO Consolidated List, you may still need a licence in the following three scenarios:
- You have been informed or are aware that the export may be intended for use in connection with military equipment in an embargoed destination. For countries currently subject to embargo, see Current arms embargoes and restrictions. There are also some restrictions on exports to China (see Embargoes and sanction on China) and to Russia (see EU sanctions against Russia).
- You have been informed or are aware that the export maybe intended for use in connection with WMD. WMD is defined as 'use in connection with the development, production, handling, operation, maintenance, storage, detection, identification or dissemination of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or the development, production, maintenance or storage of missiles capable of deliver of such weapons'1
- Transfers of items or information within the UK are subject to export controls when you have been informed or are aware that the ultimate end use is related to WMD outside the UK.
The key tests in end-use controls are awareness of WMD risk, or being informed of such a risk. Awareness requires specific reasons to believe an item is intended to WMD purposes, not simply that an items may have WMD application.
1 Export Control Order 2008 No3231