top of page

Germany: Internal Compliance Programme for Export Controls

The German Export Control Authorities BAFA has issued guidance on an ICP on export controls. Download the EN and DE versions + DE questionnaire for use in your company.

The foreign trade with commodities of strategic importance, mainly weapons, armaments and dual-use items, is subject to control. Dual-use items are goods, software and technology that may be used for civil and military purposes. A milling machine, for example, may be used for processing components for civil as well as military products.

Within the framework of its legal and international commitments, the export control policy of the Federal Government is oriented to the security need and foreign political interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. Particularly its security must not be threatened by conventional armaments and weapons of mass destruction.

German exports should neither intensify conflicts nor contribute to internal repression or other severe human rights violations in crisis areas. Its international involvement obliges the Federal Republic of Germany not to burden its foreign relations by critical exports.

With the increasing globalisation, efficient export controls are only possible on the basis of an intensified international and European co-operation.

The Federal Republic of Germany is a member of numerous international treaties and export control regimes aiming at the harmonisation of export control regulations and licensing policies. Of special importance are the lists of items established by the international regimes; these lists are technically updated in regular periods.

International Control bodies

There are four international export control bodies:

  • MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) – for items relevant for missile systems

  • Australia Group – for dual-use items relevant for chemical and biological weapons

  • NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) for items in the nuclear area

  • Wassenaar Arrangement – for armaments and dual-use items related to the area of conventional armaments

  • The export of dual-use items from the European Union has been harmonised to a large extent. It is subject to European law.

Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control regularly sends its experts to the meetings of the control bodies and the European union workgroups.

Licencing Procedure

One of the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control ’s main tasks is to check whether the export of a commodity is subject to licensing and if a licence may be granted.

An export licence is always required if the commodity is mentioned in the European or national list of items. Items covered by the lists range from weapons, ammunition and related production facilities via material, plants and equipment for nuclear purposes, high-grade materials, specific machine tools, electronic equipment, computers, telecommunications up to specific chemical units and chemicals. In addition to the licensing requirements for listed items, there are European and national licensing requirements depending on the use of the items. This "catch-all" clause normally applies to sensitive countries only. In the case of certain countries, technical support, as well as brokering activities, are subject to additional controls.

An export licence may be granted if the export does not impair the foreign policy and security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. The legal and administrative problems are very complex when looking at the licensing procedure of dual-use items. Although the majority of them serve civil purposes, they can also be used in the military sector. Dual-use items make up the highest percentage of the millions of exports crossing the borders every year; normally, their intended use is not directly visible. The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control decides on granting or refusing an authorisation after taking into consideration all the available information about the intended use. In a number of cases, the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control takes such a decision only after political consultations with the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and the Federal Foreign Office. The granting of a licence is also made dependent on the exporter’s reliability. In this connection, the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control may request the nomination of a person responsible for exports on the level of the management.

About the German ICP guidance

Compliance management programs that serve to support adherence to legal regulations, specifically regarding foreign trade, are referred to as internal compliance programs (ICP hereinafter).

The German BAFA has prepared this information leaflet is intended to help you to develop an ICP or to further optimize an already existing ICP. It presents under which conditions companies are required to install an ICP and identifies the criteria which constitute an effective ICP.


English Version

ICP - Germany - BAFA
Download PDF • 617KB

German Version

ICP - Germany - BAFA - Deutsch
Download PDF • 5.52MB

Questionnaire on ICP

ICP Questionnaire - German
Download PDF • 159KB

About Customs Manager Ltd.

Working with us means having a Customs Advisor, Global Trade Expert and Export Controls Consultant, on speed-dial. If you are looking for a customs consultant UK and EU, let us help you trade effectively, efficiently and, of course, compliantly, wherever you want to go in the world.

Need to stay up-to-date with changing customs and global trade rules? We monitor legislation so our clients don't have to. Learn about all changes in our fresh expert blog, join exclusive briefings and ask any questions 24/7 through to the VIP hotline. Or sign up to our no-charge, insightful newsletter.

Entrust us with your training needs and help us to upskill you and your teams in English, German, French and Spanish. We offer pubic and private live, in-house and on-demand (study from anywhere and anytime) courses.

To complete our support for globally trading businesses, we are also a UK Customs Broker. We act as a customs clearance agent on behalf of many EU and UK businesses, assisting with customs documentation and all other formalities to ensure the customs clearance of our goods. Whether you’re seeking a long-term partner to look after your customs clearance or require support for a one-off shipment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Join us on social media

Important Notice

Customs Manager Ltd. owns the copyright in this information, unless other sources are identified.

You are not allowed to use this information in any way that infringes the intellectual property rights in it. You may have to hold a valid licence to use this information. A licence can be obtained by becoming a Premium subscriber to the Customs Managers’ Trade Intelligence service. As a Premium subscriber, you may download and print this information which you may then use, copy or reproduce for your own internal non-profit-making purposes.

However, under no circumstances are you permitted to use, copy or reproduce this information to profit or gain.

In addition, you must not sell or distribute this information to third parties who are not members of your organization, whether for monetary payment or otherwise.

This information is intended to serve as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. We cannot guarantee the quality, content, or accuracy of the information provided on this page as laws and information change regularly. Moreover, the application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. This information should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a Customs Manager Ltd. professional.

In no circumstances will Customs Manager Ltd, be liable for any decision made or action was taken in reliance on the information contained within this document or for any consequential, special or similar damages, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.

24 views0 comments


bottom of page