On 23 August 2018, the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU), part of the UK Government’s Department for International Trade, explained how the export of controlled goods will change if no agreement is reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union before March 2019.

The ECJU administers the UK’s system of export controls and licensing for military items, dual-use items (items with both civil and military uses), civilian firearms, and items usable for torture.

The UK’s system of export control and licences is currently in line with the European one. The export of many controlled items within the European Union does not require a license, with some exceptions, e.g. the export of items included in the UK Military List. This List contains the items requiring an export license for strategic purposes, which are only subject to UK legislation; therefore, besides minor legislative fixes, there should be no changes to controls on the export of these items.

With regard to the other controlled items, the ECJU has clarified that:

  • according to Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons, a licence is currently required to export firearms from the UK, unless they are carried by an individual holding a European Firearms Pass moving within the European Union. As of March 2019, in case of a ‘no deal’ scenario, the European Firearms Pass will no longer be available for UK citizens taking their personal firearms to the EU. Moreover, the exemption to an export authorisation for the temporary export of firearms as personal effects from the UK, during a journey to a third country, provided by the Export Control Order 2008, will be extended to exports to the EU;
  • dual-use items, governed by Regulation (EC) No. 428/2009, currently cannot leave the territory of the Union without individual or general export authorization, but there is a general export license allowing the circulation of these goods between Member States. Without specific agreements, as of March 2019, companies will need to obtain licenses to export certain dual-use products between the European Union and the United Kingdom after Brexit. Moreover, export licences issued in the UK would no longer be valid for exporting dual-use items from EU member states and a new licence, issued by an EU Member State, would be required. At the same time, export licences issued by the 27 EU countries would no longer be valid for exporting dual-use items from the UK and a new licence would be required, issued by the UK;
  • the export of goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is subject to strict controls and, therefore, Council Regulation No. 1236/2015 requires a licence for their export outside the European Union. After Brexit, the overall framework of controls on these goods would not change. However, since the UK will become a third country, any export of goods which have no practical use other than for the purpose of capital punishment or for the purpose of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, will be prohibited, irrespective of the origin of such equipment unless it is demonstrated that the UK will use such goods for the exclusive purpose of public display in a museum in view of their historic significance. In such case, an export authorization will be required.

Further information is available at the following LINK.