Government changes

New UK export control measures in effect and coming up

A robust and transparent UK export control regime is key for the UK government. With this in mind, new updates have been announced. An overview for UK traders.

UK export control: Overview of announced changes

On December 8, 2021, the UK government announced a package of new measures to update its export control regime. UK companies that work with controlled goods should familiarize themselves with these updates that the UK government is implementing. Changes affect three main areas:

  1. Criteria for UK strategic export licensing
  2. Military end-use control
  3. China

View the detailed changes in the original statement

While the first measure has taken effect immediately, the other two will be delivered through a legislative amendment to the Export Control Order 2008 which is planned to take effect in spring 2022. 

Read on for a short summary of the key aspects of these new measures as per the announcement.

UK export control: Strategic Export Licensing Criteria

A revised version of the licensing criteria for strategic export controls (“Strategic Export Licensing Criteria”) has been laid before UK Parliament. This statement of the new criteria is export control guidance given under section 9 of the Export Control Act 2002 and replaces the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria as originally announced to UK Parliament on March 25, 2014. 

The new licensing criteria include 8 criteria points and other factors – all of which apply with immediate effect to all license decisions (including decisions on appeals) on all items (goods, software, and technology) subject to export control for strategic reasons for export, transfer, trade (brokering), and transit / transhipment. 

Furthermore, the new criteria also apply to the provision of technical assistance or other services related to those items, to the extent that these activities are also subject to control.

UK export control: Military end-use control

An enhancement is planned for the definition of military end-use to improve the effectiveness of military end-use control. This upcoming change will permit the control, on a case-by-case basis, of non-listed items intended for use by the military, paramilitary, security forces, or police forces of a destination subject to an arms embargo. Exceptions include:

  1. Medical supplies and equipment intended for hospitals or other public health institutions providing medical services
  2. Food, clothing, and/or other consumer goods generally available to the public and sold from stock at retail selling points, without restriction

This revision requires a change to the Export Control Order 2008 and is planned to come into force in spring 2022.

UK export control: China

China will be added to the list of destinations subject to military end-use controls. This change aims to correct a previous discrepancy that derives from the way the EU arms embargo was imposed in 1989 and the drafting of the current legal text. This update will not change the extent of the partial arms embargo on China.

The change is planned to take effect in spring 2022 – with the updated Export Control Order 2008.

Legal certainty for shipping critical goods

Not only military goods are subject to export controls. AEB's Export Controls software also automatically checks your dual-use items against current national and international product lists and makes legally compliant shipping easy.