Foreign trade law comprises all legal provisions of a country that affect foreign trade. This relates both to the movement of goods and to the movement of services, capital, and payments. Foreign trade laws in the various jurisdictions across the globe typically consider their own security, foreign, economic and trade policy concerns on a national level.
The area of foreign trade is generally highly dynamic. As a result, constant changes in the global political landscape are leading to adjustments in foreign trade policy and in return also to frequent changes in the foreign trade law of a respective state. Restrictions governed by foreign trade laws are usually reflected in prohibitions and license requirements.
In the member states of the European Union (EU), foreign trade restrictions are based on both national and EU law. Export control laws restrict the fundamental freedom of foreign trade that applies in the EU with the aim of preventing the proliferation and development of conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction and to protect human rights.
The EU Dual-Use Regulation, which applies in all member states of the EU, provides the legal framework for dealing with civilian goods, so-called dual-use items. Trading military equipment is regulated at national level of the EU member states.