Embargoes and sanctions on Liberia

Embargoes on Liberia, and how to apply for an export licence.

This guidance was withdrawn on

The sanctions against Liberia have been withdrawn as of June 2016.


This guide contains information about embargoes and sanctions on Liberia, 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.

Most governments may control the export of goods for various reasons depending on the nature and destination of the proposed export. Exports of strategic goods and technology may be controlled for several 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 European Union (EU) or United Nations (UN) trade sanctions or arms embargoes
  • national and collective security of the UK and its allies

An arms embargo is in force on Liberia. This embargo has been imposed by both the UN and the EU, and the UK has introduced national legislation as a result.

This guide outlines relevant information about the arms embargo only.

Export control updates

If you intend to export to Liberia, 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 Liberia

An arms embargo is a ban on the export of ‘arms and related material’ (ie military ammunition, weapons and goods) imposed by either the UN, the EU or the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe or at a UK national level.

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

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

Applying for a Liberia export control licence

If you are an exporter, you can apply for an export control licence for your goods. All applications will be considered by the government on a case by case basis in line with the provisions of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. For more information read the guide on assessment of export licence applications: criteria and policy.

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. For further information, see 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.

Liberia arms embargo key legislation

The arms embargo on Liberia has been imposed by UN and EU laws, and implemented into UK legislation by statutory instruments.

UN Security Council Resolutions

The UN initially imposed an arms embargo on Liberia in November 1992. This ban ended in 2001 and a new embargo was imposed via Resolution 1521 (2003). This resolution has subsequently been renewed and modified.

You can find copies of relevant UN Resolutions on the UN website.

EU legislation

Subsequent to the adoption of Resolution 1521, the Council of the European Union adopted Common Position 2004/137/CFSP on 10 February 2004. The embargo has subsequently been extended, amended and modified by further Common Positions, Council Regulation (EC) No 234/2004 and Council Regulation (EC) No 872/2004.

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

UK legislation

The relevant statutory instruments implemented in UK law are the:

For more information, see the guide on the Export Control Order 2008.

Other restrictions on Liberia

Liberia is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It is also subject to the ECOWAS Convention on the Import, Export and Manufacture of Light Weapons. For information, see the guide on the arms export restrictions on West African states.

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

Security Council resolutions on the UN website

Official Journal of the EU on the Europa website

A to Z countries listing on the UK Trade & Investment website

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

CFSP legislation on the Europa website

Published 13 August 2012
Last updated 7 October 2015 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect that Liberia is no longer subject to financial sanctions.
  2. Included links to financial sanctions content on GOV.UK
  3. First published.