Earlier in December 2021, the UK Government announced a package of new measures with the aim of updating the export control regime in the UK. In particular, this includes the following aspects:
i. New Strategic Export Licensing Criteria
A revised version of the licensing criteria for strategic export controls has been laid before Parliament (known as the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria). This will be applied with immediate effect, and will impact all licensing decisions as well as those on appeal in relation to the export, transfer, trade and transit of goods, software or technology subject to control for strategic reasons. The new criteria will be applied on a case-by-case basis.
ii. Enhanced Military End-Use Control
The UK Government has recognised a deficit in the Military End-Use Control, and has noted that it can only be applied to the export of otherwise non-controlled items that are intended for use as components in, or production equipment for, military equipment in an embargoed destination. As such, the definition of “military end-use” will be enhanced to 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. This control will only be imposed when the UK Government informs an exporter that a proposed export is intended for a military end-use.
However the Government has made clear that exceptions will apply in relation to:
- Medical supplies and equipment intended for hospitals, or other public health institutions providing medical services;
- Food, clothing and/or other consumer goods generally available to the public and sold from stock at retail selling points, without restriction.
This change will be implemented through a legislative amendment to the Export Control Order 2008, which is anticipated in Spring 2022.
China will be added to the list of destinations subject to military end-use controls in this post-Brexit trade regime. This measure has been brought in with the aim of rectifying an anomaly that derives from the way the EU arms embargo was imposed in 1989 and the drafting of the current legal text. As with the revised military end-use control, this requires a change to the 2008 Order and will be implemented at the same time. The measure is planned to come into force in Spring 2022.