The Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) is responsible for the UK’s system of export controls on:
- military items
- dual-use items (items with both civil and military uses)
- civilian firearms
- items usable for torture
These items are regulated through a system of export licensing.
The export of many controlled items within the EU does not require a licence. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you will need a licence to export these items from the UK to EU countries.
How export processes for controlled goods will change
In the event of the UK leaving the EU in March 2019 without a deal, EU regulations on the export of civilian firearms, dual-use items and goods that may be used for torture or capital punishment would become UK regulations under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
This means that current regulations would continue to apply in the same way as they do now, except that they would apply to exports from the UK rather than to exports from the EU Customs Territory.
There would be no changes to controls on the export of military items from the UK other than minor legislative fixes, as EU regulations do not apply in this area.
The European Firearms Pass would no longer be available if you are taking your personal firearms to the EU. The government would extend the exemption that currently applies to the temporary export of firearms as personal effects to the rest of the world, to the EU – but you would need to ensure that your EU destination country also permits the re-export of the firearm.
If you are a dealer or other exporter of firearms, you will need to continue to apply for licences as you do now.
The overall framework of controls for dual-use exports would not change, but there would be changes to some licensing requirements:
- if you are moving dual-use items from the UK to the EU, you will need an export licence, in the same way as you currently would for non-EU destinations
- if you currently have an export licence issued in the UK, it would no longer be valid for exporting dual-use items from EU member states. You will need a new licence, issued by an EU member state
- if you currently have an export licence issued by one of the 27 EU countries, it would no longer be valid for exporting dual-use items from the UK. You will need a new licence, issued by the UK
If you are exporting civil nuclear material, you should refer to these Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) technical notices to see what other conditions would apply besides export controls:
Goods usable for torture or capital punishment
The overall framework of controls on these goods would not change, except that exports to EU countries would be treated in the same way as exports to non-EU destinations are treated now.
This means that you will:
- be prohibited from exporting items in Annex II to Council Regulation 2016/2134 to EU countries
- be prohibited from providing brokering, training or advertising services relating to items in Annex II to Regulation 2016/2134 to any person or entity in an EU country
- need a licence to export items in Annexes III & IIIA to Regulation 2016/2134 to EU countries
Obtaining a licence
The ECJU provides information on controls and licensing. In addition to currently available licences, most exporters of dual-use items would be able to register to use an Open General Export Licence designed specifically for exports to EU countries. This licence would remove the need for you to apply for individual licences and could be used immediately following a straightforward registration process.
In a ‘no deal’ scenario, the ECJU would publish the new Open General Export Licence in advance of the UK leaving the EU, along with further information on how to register to use it.
If you are an exporter and you need individual licences, you would also be able to apply for these licences in advance of the exit date. Further guidance on this would be issued in advance of the UK leaving the EU.
Actions you can take now
- You should check whether the items you export may be subject to control and whether you will need an export licence. To understand what controls would apply, licensing provisions in current legislation for a “third country” (a non-EU country) can be taken as a guide to the licensing provisions for exports to EU countries in the case of a ‘no deal’ scenario.
- You should refer to guidance from the ECJU about how to apply for a licence.
- You should plan to put in place internal processes for your business to ensure compliance.
- The passport rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 (may also apply to new exit date on 31 December 2020) without a deal. Read the government’s guidance on Travelling to the EU with a UK passport if there’s no Brexit deal and, if relevant, ensure your employees and customers are aware of the potential changes.
- Stay up-to-date with these changes by registering for email alerts. Follow the link, add your email address, select ‘submit’, select ‘Add subscription’ and choose ‘EU Exit’ then select ‘Submit’.