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What are Export Controls and how do they operate?

Now the UK has left the EU, export controls are fully in place and are no different from the regulations relating to supplies to the rest of the world.

Previously many companies exporting to the EU were unaware that their goods were dual-use controlled items as most categories of dual-use controlled goods could move without an export licence around the EU Customs Union. However, licences are now required for all controlled goods, although the authorities have issued general licences were possible to reduce the burden on industry. This means that thousands of businesses will come under these controls for the first time.

What are Export Controls?

It is estimated that only about 5% of UK exports are subject to export control, however, if you are an exporter of high-technology goods, goods specially designed or modified for military purposes, certain chemical precursors, or products that can be used in connection with weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) such as chemical, biological or nuclear weapons (or the means of delivering the same), you must maintain a compliance procedure.

Infringement of the export licensing system is a breach of the law and is subject to penalties of up to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.

The full control lists are accessible through the Department for International Trade (DIT) Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) pages where you can find out which goods are controlled and how to get licences for them.

Do My Goods Need a Licence?

To help exporters determine whether their goods require a licence, the ECJU has an online search tool called “Goods Checker”, which helps exporters decide whether their goods, software or technology are controlled by UK strategic export control legislation.

There is also a Control List Classification Search tool that can provide a clearer view of controls on some goods. However, if you are still unable to ascertain if your goods are controlled or not you could submit a 'Control List Classification' Enquiry, a process in which you ask the ECJU advisors whether, what you intend to export, is included on a control list.

Users must register with ECJU before they use the search function and will be given a password. After achieving a “rating”, exporters can use the “OGEL Checker” to determine whether a General Licence covers the export of their goods to the destination required.

Need further help?

Need help completing your customs declarations?

Source: HMRC and Croner-i

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