Embargoes and sanctions on Burma

Information on embargoes on Burma and how to apply for an export licence.


This guide contains information about embargoes and sanctions on Burma, and provides information for exporters. You can find more general information here on sanctions, embargoes and restrictions, and a list of all the countries where there are current restrictions.

Governments worldwide control the export of goods due to the nature and destinations of the proposed export. Exports of strategic goods and technology are controlled for many reasons including:

  • concerns about internal repression, regional instability and other human rights violations
  • concerns about the development of weapons of mass destruction
  • foreign policy and international treaty commitments including as a result of the imposition of EU or UN trade sanctions or arms embargoes
  • national and collective security of the UK and its allies

There is currently an arms embargo and other restrictions in force on Burma. This is an EU-imposed embargo which has been implemented in UK law.

On 16 May 2012, the EU adopted Council Regulation (EU) No 409/2012 suspending restrictive measures against Burma until 20 April 2013. The UK has subsequently issued a UK legislative order, the Export Control (Syria and Burma Sanctions Amendment) and Miscellaneous Revocations Order 2012 (SI 2012/2125). This UK order came into force on 6 September 2012 and suspends the UK’s domestic enforcement measures until 20 April 2013.

Export control updates

If you intend to export to Burma you should keep yourself well informed of the current situation through the media and other information channels.

To keep informed of latest updates about arms embargoes and changes to strategic export control legislation, please subscribe to the Export Control Organisation’s Notices to Exporters.

Extent of the arms embargo on Burma

An arms embargo is a ban on the export of arms and related material - ie military ammunition, weapons and goods - which may be imposed by a number of organisations, including the UN, The EU or the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. It may also be imposed at a national level.

The UK interprets this as covering all goods and items on the UK Military List (which forms part of the UK Strategic Export Control Lists), unless, otherwise stated.

Some goods which are not on the UK Military List might also need an export licence. Read the guide on the Military End-Use Control.

Applying for an export licence to Burma

Exporters can apply for an export licence for their goods. All applications will be considered by the government on a case-by-case basis in line with the provisions of the Consolidated Criteria for UK and European Union (EU) Arms Exports. Read the guide on licence decision making - the consolidated criteria.

For details on different export licences available see the guide on licences: export, trade control and transhipment.

When applying for a licence, you should be aware of the current licence processing times by destination. You can find details of licensing statistics on the ECO Reports and Statistics website.

In applying and using any licence, exporters should be aware of their responsibilities. Read the guide on compliance and enforcement of export controls.

If you are unsure if your goods are controlled, you should read the guide about strategic exports: when to request an export licence.

Sanctions on Burma: key legislation

The arms embargo on Burma has been imposed by EU laws, and implemented in the UK by statutory instruments.

There are currently no UN Security Council resolutions on Burma.

EU legislation

The EU first adopted measures including an arms embargo against Burma in 1990 which was subsequently confirmed on 29 July 1991 by the General Affairs Council and Common Position 1996/635/CFSP. This embargo covers weapons and ammunition, weapon and non-weapon platforms and ancillary equipment. It also covers spare parts, repairs, maintenance and transfer of military technology.

The EU has since renewed, modified and extended the scope of the regulations.

On 16 May 2012, the EU took action to suspend restrictive measures against Burma until 20 April 2013. This measure was adopted in Council Regulation (EU) No 409/2012 and published in the EU Official Journal on 15 May 2012 (OJ L126, 15.5.2012, p1).

You can access Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) legislation on the Europa website.

UK legislation

UK legislation on the arms embargo on Burma is listed below:

Read the guide on the Export Control Order 2008.

You can access copies of any UK legislation on the website.

Other restrictions on Burma

There is also a ban on the supply of equipment which could be used for internal repression.

Further information

UK Trade & Investment Enquiry Line

020 7215 8000

BIS ECO Helpline

020 7215 4594 or Email:

Subscribe to the Export Control Organisation’s Notices to Exporters

Goods checker on the ECO Checker website (registration required)

ECO performance reports and statistics on the ECO Reports and Statistics website

CFSP legislation on the Europa website

UK legislation on the website

Security Council resolutions on the UN website

Burma country listing for on the UK Trade & Investment website

Financial sanctions guidance on the HM Treasury website

Published 13 August 2012