Export controls are governed by certain criteria laid down by the UK Government in conjunction with EU and international policy in general. They apply to high-technology goods, products specially designed or modified for military purposes, certain chemical precursors and items that could be used in connection with weapons of mass destruction.

This topic provides a summary of the current controls and shows how to check with the relevant government department whether a proposed export requires approval under these rules.

When the UK leaves the EU, export controls will be fully in place. Currently we are able to circulate most of the dual-use controlled items without an export licence around the EU Customs Union. Once the UK is outside of the Customs Union all such items will require licence permissions from the UK to the EU 27 countries and from the EU into the UK. This means thousands of businesses that have traded without the need for an export licence will come under these controls for the first time. The penalties are high: to export controlled items without a licence is a criminal offence.

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