Trade controls (trafficking and brokering)
Trade control legislation concerns the movement of military goods from one third country to another where the deal is brokered in the UK or by a UK person overseas.
The Export Control Act 2002 that came into force on 1 May 2004 replaced existing export control powers, provided a more transparent framework and increased Parliamentary accountability. The Act also extended export controls, including those on trade (‘trafficking and brokering’) in controlled military goods (including trade to embargoed destinations).
‘Trafficking and brokering’ is the involvement in deals which result in the movement of military goods from one third country to another.
This guidance will help those individuals and companies who are involved in the trading of military goods to understand the controls and understand when a licence will be required.
Current guidance on trade in military goods
As a result of the Review of Export Control Legislation 2007, amending trade control legislation came into force on 1 October 2008. This introduced amendments to the existing Trade in Goods (Control) Order 2003 and the Trade in Controlled Goods (Embargoed Destinations) Order 2004. The amending order was the Trade in Goods (Categories of Controlled Goods) Order 2008. Read about the Review of Export Control Legislation 2007
As of 6 April 2009, these orders have collectively now been replaced by a single consolidating order. See the guide on the Export Control Order 2008.
The changes to the trafficking and brokering controls were phased in through 3 stages. The third tranche, which came into effect on 6 April 2009, introduced a number of amendments, including moving some goods into different categories.
This document includes information on the following:
- the legislation
- the new structure of trade controls
- controls on category A goods to non-embargoed destinations
- controls on category B goods to non-embargoed destinations
- controls on category C goods to non-embargoed destinations
- controls on trade to embargoed destinations
- types of trade licences and how to apply for them
- end-user documentation
- frequently asked questions
- contacts for further advice
- extracts of the legislation
If you are involved in the trading of dual-use goods, you should refer to the guide on brokering (trade) of dual-use items. There is also further guidance about extraterritorial trade controls which explains further about when trade controls apply to a UK person based overseas.
This site also includes guidance on countries where arms embargoes are currently in place. See the guide on current arms embargoes and other restrictions.
For more information on the different categories of export licence, see the guide on trade control licences.
Frequently asked questions on trade controls (trafficking and brokering) of military goods
Here are some frequently asked questions about the movement of military goods from one third country to another.
What are the trade controls?
Trade means trafficking and brokering of military goods, in other words, the UK involvement in deals which result in the movement of military goods from one third country to another.
If we have a trade licence in place for a certain deal, will we still need to obtain an export licence from the source destination for the goods to leave that country?
What if we are arranging for technology for military goods to be moved from one third country to another?
The trade controls do not normally apply to software or technology.
BIS ECO Helpline
020 7215 4594 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: 29 August 2012
Updated: 22 November 2013
- Revised advice on moving technology for military goods from one country to another.
- Amended broken links and added related guides
- First published.
Related guides: Brokering (trade) of dual-use items Do I need an export licence? Extraterritorial Trade Controls Open General Trade Control Licences Trade Control Licences for brokering Trade controls on military goods for trade fairs and exhibitions Overview of export control legislation Current arms embargoes and other restrictions Making better licence applications Transport controls Assessment of export licence applications: criteria and policy