Import and Export Solutions

Export Licensing // Overview

The export of certain goods has been subject to regulation for many years. UK legislation relating to military list goods was first implemented in 1939 at the beginning of World War II and controls on some commercial items, known as dual-use list goods, came into force in 1997. Many countries, including the USA, now participate in multilateral controls and these can be accessed at

Aircraft photo

1. UK/EU Legislation

In Layman’s terms, controls are in place under the following circumstances:

Military List

Anything specially designed or modified for military use (equipment, related goods, components and ‘development’, ‘production’ or ‘use’ software or technology).

Dual-Use List

Commercial items but only if the exact technical specification appears on this list (equipment, related goods, components and ‘development’, ‘production’ or ‘use’ software or technology). These items are usable in connection with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or missile systems to deliver such weapons i.e. WMD – weapons of mass destruction).

Goods used in connection with torture

Read more about these controls on the GOV.UK website

Radioactive items

See the Controls on radioactive sources on the GOV.UK website

Goods destined for Iran

See the Iran List: WMD End-Use control on the GOV.UK website

Items not appearing on a control list

You can access the combined UK Military List and EU Dual-Use Control List (PDF file) on the Department for Business and Innovation & Skills website.

 2. US Legislation

The US system of regulating exports is based on the same international regimes as the UK but, interpretation and implementation varies. Some important differences are as follows:



> Did You Know?

Most companies know that to move a piece of military equipment from the UK would require an export licence but, how many companies consider that when they relocate their manufacturing facility to China, any machinery, tooling, raw materials, designs and drawings could also require an export licence?