Open General Trade Control Licences
Types of Open General Trade Control Licence required, conditions and eligible shipment and destinations.
Open General Trade Control Licences (OGTCLs) are pre-published licences issued by the Export Control Organisation (ECO). They are the most flexible type of strategic trade control licence available for use by exporters, as long as all pre-set conditions can be met. In each case they permit licensable trade activities of specific controlled items (identified by a ‘control list entry’ heading) to specific destinations permitted by the licence. For more background read about open general licences: an overview and trade control licences for brokering.
The ECO issues 4 types of OGTCL.
If you cannot meet the conditions in terms of shipment or destination, then you will need to apply for either a Standard Individual Trade Control Licence or an Open Individual Trade Control Licence.
All open licence holders are subject to regular compliance audits conducted by the ECO.
Your responsibilities in using an OGTCL
Before using any OGTCL for your trade control purposes, you should first check that you can meet all its defined terms and conditions. You should also know the control list classification or ‘rating’ of your product. If you are unsure what this is, you should consult the UK Strategic Export Control Lists. For more information, see guidance about strategic exports: when to request an export licence.
It is also your responsibility as the exporter to:
- register to use OGTCLs on ECO’s export licensing database, SPIRE
- use OGTCLs within all pre-defined terms and conditions
- keep up-to-date with any OGTCL amendments - eg changes to permitted or excluded destinations or goods
- be prepared for compliance audits
Details of amendments are published in ECO’s notices to exporters. To keep informed of latest updates and changes to strategic export control legislation and licences, please subscribe to the ECO’s notices to exporters.
For all OGTCLs, you will need to state the exact name of the licence or the SPIRE reference on any supporting documentation given to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Open General Trade Control Licence (Category C Goods)
An OGTCL which allows the transfer to and from specified countries of ‘Category C’ goods - in other words, all goods contained on the UK Military List that do not fall into either Category A or B or certain substances that are controlled for the purpose of riot control or self-protection and related portable dissemination equipment. Read more about trade controls on military goods.
Open General Trade Control Licence (Trade and Transportation: Small Arms and Light Weapons)
An OGTCL which allows the transfer to and from specified countries of small arms.
Open General Trade Control Licence (Insurance or Re-Insurance)
An OGTCL which permits, subject to certain conditions, the provision of insurance or reinsurance in relation to UN authorised missions or operations. The licence allows the transfer of goods specified in the Schedule and which are subject to trade controls from a third country to another third country which is an embargoed destination.
For a list of embargoes, access the current list of arms embargoes and other restrictions. Further details are available in the guide on trade controls (trafficking and brokering).
Open General Trade Control Licence (Maritime Anti-Piracy)
This licence has been issued in light of the efforts to combat piracy and security threats as highlighted by the 2012 London Conference on Somalia.
An OGTCL which provides export licensing coverage for maritime anti-piracy services that traverse the ‘high risk area’. The licence permits those who have registered to use it, to do any act, the effect of which is to supply, deliver or transfer any of the controlled goods listed in Schedule 1 between any 2 overseas territories that are not listed in Schedule 2.
Use of this licence is permitted, subject to all specified terms and conditions. You must:
- provide a signed declaration that you have read and agreed to abide by the principles in the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers (ICoC) and that you are able to show how you are implementing these principles through your management system, policies and procedures
- have submitted copies of your standard operating procedures, rules of engagement and policy on storing firearms to the ECO
- satisfy certain documentary requirements before transferring goods under the licence
- maintain records to confirm that you have used the licence correctly
If you are not eligible to use the licence or fail to satisfy any of the conditions or requirements then this may result in your use of the licence being suspended or withdrawn and you may be liable to prosecution.
You should only register to use this licence if you can meet all its specified requirements and if none of the exclusions apply.
Registered licence holders
Download the list of companies registered to use the OGTCL (Maritime Anti-Piracy). This list will be periodically updated to include new licence registrations.
BIS ECO Helpline
020 7215 4594 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: 7 September 2012
Updated: 15 October 2015
- Conditions of Maritime Anti-Piracy licence updated.
- Licences amended to reflect recent transparency reporting requirements. Some links also updated.
- Some licences have been updated to take account of transparency reporting requirements. Links have also been updated.
- Corrected broken internal guide links and removed duplication of content about how to use licences
- First published.
Related guides: Do I need an export licence? Trade controls (trafficking and brokering) Compliance and enforcement of export controls Extraterritorial Trade Controls Assessment of export licence applications: criteria and policy Trade Control Licences for brokering Open General Licences: an overview Maritime anti-piracy documentation service Trade controls on military goods for trade fairs and exhibitions