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New Export Controls on Emerging Technologies

What You Need to Know About the UK's New Export Controls on Emerging Technologies

This article is part of Edition 9 of Export Control & Sanctions Watch. If you like what you read, please consider a subscription to the blog-style magazine to support our work. See. for details.

Legal Amendment

The UK has amended the Export Control Order 2008 and Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 (the assimilated dual-use regulation) under the Export Control (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (notice) (coming into force from 1 April 2024.

What are the key changes?

  • The UK is introducing new controls on emerging technologies, including quantum, cryogenic, semiconductor, additive manufacturing, and advanced materials. These controls could potentially impact the export of these technologies, affecting businesses involved in their production and distribution.

  • The UK made technical updates to the Wassenaar Arrangement munitions list, as agreed in December 2023, and

  • implement updates to the Wassenaar Arrangement dual-use list, the Australia Group, Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Missile Technology Control Regime, as agreed in December 2023.

Wassenaar Munitions List Changes

The amendments to Schedule 2 of the 2008 Order reflect routine technical updates made to the Wassenaar Arrangement munitions list, as agreed in December 2023. These include

  • editorial amendments to Technical Notes in certain entries, including ML4, ML7, ML8, ML9, ML14 and ML17

  • addition of a new decontrol note for a chemical in sub-entry ML8.d

  • clarification of control scope for production equipment in sub-entries ML18. and ML18.b.

The agreed changes of the Wassenaar Arrangement - in summary, can be found here

Download PDF • 145KB

The overall agreed changes are here:

Download PDF • 1.91MB

New Entries on specific emerging technologies

The amendments to Schedule 3 of the 2008 Order introduce new controls on specific emerging technologies, which the UK and several like-minded countries have committed to implementing to strengthen the national controls. This introduces three new entries in Schedule 3: PL9013, PL9014 and PL9015. These latest entries relate to

  • quantum technologies,

  • cryogenic technologies,

  • semiconductor technologies,

  • additive manufacturing equipment and

  • advanced materials.

  • The export of this equipment will now be subject to an export licence requirement for all destinations

Export controls: what are they?

Export controls in the UK limit the movement or revelation of technology, software, and sensitive goods (know-how and other data) to recipients and locations outside the country. This covers exports in hard copy, transfers via electronic mail, file sharing, online conferences, and other means (verbal communication). Export control laws are applicable to both trade and commerce, as well as academic research and instruction.

What is the origin of export controls?

International commitments, such as those outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 1540, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and other treaties, are the source of UK export controls. By halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and fending off terrorist threats, they contribute to the maintenance of both national and international security. Additionally, they aid in preventing the use of the death penalty, repression, and torture as means of violating fundamental human rights.

How are export controls implemented?

Products, software, and technology restricted for export are listed on the UK Strategic Export Control Lists. Concerns that the recipient might use the items for human rights violations or military or WMD purposes are additional justifications for restricting them. An export licence may be necessary in cases where a disclosure or transfer is subject to one or more of the applicable export controls. The Department for Business and Trade's Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) handles licence inquiries and applications (DBT).

To whom export controls are applicable

Anyone exporting or transferring technology, software, or goods or offering brokering services is subject to strategic export controls, including academic researchers.

When export regulations are in effect

If any of the following situations apply to you, it is mandatory to obtain a licence from the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU):

  • Your items appear on the consolidated control list.

  • You have concerns or have been informed of concerns regarding the intended end-use or end-user.

  • Trade sanctions cover your items.

It's important to note that the government may require an export licence even for goods not listed on the consolidated control list. These are commonly known as "end-use" or "catch-all" controls.

Our recommendation

Export control laws can be difficult to understand, but we are here to help. With over ten years of experience in export controls, we provide comprehensive support to our clients in implementing these laws in the US, UK, and the EU. Please get in touch if you need any assistance with export controls.

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