About us

What we do

The Export Control Organisation (ECO) issues licences for controlling the export of strategic goods.

Strategic goods include:

  • military equipment
  • dual-use goods - goods that can be used for both civil and military purposes
  • products used for torture
  • radioactive sources

ECO aims to help the UK’s businesses export responsibly and within the law. Our licensing process asks what is being exported, to where and for whom.

Find out if you need a strategic export control licence

Apply for an export licence online (SPIRE)

Learn more about training for exporters


We are responsible for:

  • assessing and issuing export licences for strategic goods based on the EU consolidated criteria
  • auditing companies to ensure compliance with open licences
  • working with other government departments on counter-proliferation activities
  • helping to shape worldwide arms control policies
  • developing UK export licensing legislation
  • providing help, training and advice to exporters


Our priorities are to:

  • deliver an efficient and rigorous export control service
  • ensure clear development and communication of export control policy that promotes global security and aligns with wider government priorities
  • enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the service by setting up the new Export Control Joint Unit, developing and launching new IT and operational processes to replace the SPIRE online export licensing system, and introducing new open general export licences.
  • raise awareness of export controls among businesses to help them manage risk and improve compliance

Who we are

We are part of the Department for International Trade (DIT). We work closely with other government departments as part of the licence decision-making process.

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