The Department for International Trade (“DIT“) yesterday published Notice to exporters 2017/25 (the “Notice“) in light of the new restrictive measures, including an arms embargo and internal repression related controls, imposed by the EU effective from 14 November 2017 (the “Measures“). Please see here for our previous blog post regarding introduction of the Measures. The Notice provides useful guidance to UK exporters on interpretation issues, as well as further detail on the restrictions from a practical perspective.
(a) Arms embargo
The Notice makes clear that the DIT Export Control Joint Unit (“ECJU“) will interpret the arms embargo established by the Measures as applying to all items on the UK Military List.
(b) Equipment for monitoring communication
The Measures establish the following:
- A prohibition on the provision of telecommunication, internet monitoring or interception services to Venezuela’s government or associated bodies, as well as on the supply of equipment, technology or software intended primarily for use in the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications in Venezuela.
- Ancillary prohibitions on the provision of related services, such as financial assistance related to the supply of these technologies to Venezuela or for use in Venezuela.
The Notice explains that a licence is required to undertake any of these prohibited actions. The ECJU will not grant such a licence if there are reasonable grounds to determine that the relevant items or services would be used primarily for internal repression, monitoring or interception by Venezuelan state actors, entities or anyone acting on their behalf.
The Measures also permit the ECJU to authorise transactions, prohibited by the arms embargo, which concern the execution of a contract or agreement concluded before 13 November 2017. Businesses seeking to rely on this exemption must notify the ECJU by Tuesday 21 November 2017 and provide a copy of the relevant contract in support of their licence application. The existence of a relevant contract does not however guarantee that the ECJU will grant a licence. Concurrently, the ECJU is reviewing all existing Venezuela related export and trade control licences in light of the new restrictions established by the Measures.
Licence applications must be submitted to the ECJU via SPIRE, the online export licensing system. The Notice makes clear the UK Government’s willingness to prosecute in the event of serious and deliberate evasion of the Measures, and states that all UK companies are expected to comply with the Measures in full.