The list of military goods, software and technology that are subject to export controls has been revised on 24 March 2015. The changes have been made through the Export Control (Amendment) Order 2015 which replaces Schedule 2 of the Export Control Order 2008.

A further amendment to the Order is due to come into force on or after 17 April 2015 to address an anomaly created by the first set of changes. A new entry will be introduced in Schedule 3 to ensure that controls on the transfer and export of certain firearms (mainly sporting shotguns) are maintained in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 258/2012 and Council Directive 91/477/EEC.

The changes bring into UK law recent amendments made to the EU Common Military List that in turn was amended in the light of changes to the Munitions List of the Wassenaar Arrangement, the group of 41 Participating States which promotes responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies. The Wassenaar Arrangement’s technical reviews are ongoing, with revisions introduced on an annual basis, to keep the control lists up-to-date and relevant to changing circumstances and technological developments.

These amendments are intended to clarify existing text, to remove ambiguities and to promote more consistent interpretation of the controls amongst the Participating States. The changes include the treatment of air guns (ML1), blank and dummy ammunition (ML3), explosives and propellants (ML8) and controls on technology for toxicological agent, biopolymers and cell cultures (ML22); there are further amendments in categories ML1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 17 and 21.

There are also minor changes to the list of paramilitary items subject to UK national control (PL5001 – part of the UK Military List). These are required to ensure consistency with changes made by the European Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 775/2014 concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, to clarify that Water Cannon are covered by the Regulation and to adjust some technical parameters.

What this means for you

Once the second set of amendments comes into force, the UK’s Consolidated List of ‘Controlled’ Military and Dual-Use Items that require an export licence will be the most up-to-date that it has been for several years, following the addition on 31 December last year of substantial revisions to the EU Dual-Use List, incorporating changes made by the multilateral export control regimes dating back to 2011.

Exporters of military or paramilitary goods, software or technology are advised to check the entries relevant to their items on the updated Consolidated List to clarify whether they may be affected.

Compliance with export controls is strictly monitored by the Export Control Organisation and HM Revenue and Customs, and offenders can suffer supply chain delays, contractual penalties, loss of business, reputational damage, punitive fines and prison.