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Export Control Act: Secondary Legislation Consultation

Consultation on the secondary legislation to be introduced under the Export Control Act was announced today by DTI Minister Nigel Griffiths.

The secondary legislation makes provision for new controls on:
-- the transfer abroad of military technology by electronic means;
-- the transfer of technology by any means or provision of technical assistance overseas which may be used in connection with weapons of mass destruction programmes; and
-- trade in military equipment between overseas countries.

The consultation document contains the drafts of the orders, explains how the new controls are expected to operate in practice and invites views on their practical implementation. The partial Regulatory Impact Assessment provides an initial assessment of the impact of the new controls and invites views on the estimated compliance costs.

The consultation period will last for 3 months, closing on 30 April 2003.

Nigel Griffiths said:

"Britain already has the one of the most open and transparent systems for operating stringent controls on physical exports of military and other sensitive items. The Export Control Act gives us new powers to extend these controls to arms brokering and trafficking, and to electronic transfers of military technology.

"The new controls will ensure that the UK can continue to be at the forefront of worldwide efforts to stamp out the supply of arms to conflict zones and other sensitive areas, while allowing legitimate and responsible defence exports to continue."

"We look forward to receiving contributions from interested parties."


1. The Export Control Act 2002 received Royal Assent on 24 July 2002.

2. The Act contains new powers to control the transfers of technology by intangible means, the provision of technical assistance abroad, and on trade (trafficking and brokering) between overseas countries.

3. These new controls will be introduced under three Orders:

-- The Export of Goods, Transfer of Technology and Provision of Technical Assistance Order which reproduces existing export controls; introduces the new control on the electronic transfer abroad of military technology whose physical export is already controlled; new controls on the transfer by any means of technology intended for use in connection with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or a related missile programme and the provision of technical assistance in relation to WMD.

-- The Trade in Controlled Goods (Control) Order and the [Embargoed Destination] (Sanctions) Control Order (which is an example of the type of order which would be introduced for a non-binding UN, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe or national embargo) provide for controls on trade in long range missiles, torture equipment and other military equipment, and on trade to embargoed destinations of goods covered by the embargo.

4. The trade controls apply to activities connected to trade between one overseas country and another. In the case of long range missiles, equipment used in torture and trade to embargoed destinations the controls will apply to activities in the UK and to the activities of UK persons anywhere else in the world. These latter controls will also apply to any acts which facilitate the supply or delivery of goods between overseas countries.

5. The trade controls on equipment on the Military List will apply to activities which take place in the UK. These controls will apply where a company or person trades overseas on their own behalf through buying selling or arranging the transfer of military equipment in their ownership, where a person or a company negotiates a contract between others for trade in military equipment overseas or where a company or a person earns a fee (or other consideration) for the arrangement of trade in military equipment overseas. Even where only a part of a particular trafficking and brokering transaction is carried out in the UK, for example a phone call, sending a fax or email, the controls will apply.

6. A transitional period of at least 12 weeks is proposed between the laying of the Orders and their coming into force to enable industry to prepare for the new controls. Some complex licence applications under the new trade in military goods controls could take up to 6 months to process and so a longer implementation period is proposed for the Order introducing these controls

7. Comments are invited on the consultation document and the partial Regulatory Impact Assessment. Copies of the consultation document are available from the DTI export control website:

Export Control Act: Secondary Legislation Consultation