Trade Control Licences for brokering
You need a Trade Control Licence if you transfer controlled (military or dual-use) goods between one overseas country and another.
The overseas trade - also known as ‘trafficking and brokering’ - in military or dual-use goods requires specific licences.
If you or your business is involved in the transfer of controlled goods between one overseas country and another - in other words, if the deal is brokered either in the UK or by you or your business based overseas - you will need a Trade Control Licence.
Brokering could include a range of activities such as arranging supply from overseas factories, arranging intra-company transfers or drop shipping.
In the UK, Trade Control Licences are issued by the Export Control Organisation (ECO). The ECO is responsible for licensing the overseas trade or transfer of military and dual-use goods, which come under the category of ‘trafficking and brokering’. This power is granted via the Export Control Order 2008 and the European Union Dual-Use Regulation. To access a full copy of the legislation see the guides on the Export Control Order 2008 and Controls on Dual-Use Goods (EU Dual-Use Regulation).
What are Trade Control Licences?
Trade Control Licences were originally introduced to license the overseas trade of military items. The trade - or brokering - in dual-use goods is also licensed and now requires a Trade Control Licence. Dual-use goods are items that can be used in both a civil and military way.
Trade Controls apply to:
- military goods
- dual-use goods listed in Annex 1 of the European Union Dual-Use Regulation (included as part of the UK Strategic Export Control Lists) and where exporters have been ‘informed’ of an intended use for weapons of mass destruction
The UK Military List and the UK Strategic Export Control Lists are listings of controlled military and dual-use items and are maintained by the ECO. For more information and to download the current versions of the lists, see the guide on the UK Strategic Export Control Lists - the consolidated list of strategic military and dual-use items.
If you are unsure whether your items are listed on a Control List, you should read the guide on strategic exports: when to request an export licence.
More guidance on Trade Controls
Further detailed guidance is available to help individuals and businesses understand the controls and the licences required to trade in military and dual-use goods. For more information, see the guides on trafficking and brokering (Trade Controls) and brokering (trade) of dual-use items.
You can also find additional guidance about transhipment and transport controls in the guides on transit and transhipment and transport controls.
Types of Trade Control Licence
Open General Trade Control Licence (OGTCL)
An OGTCL allows the trading of most goods found on the UK Military List. You cannot use an OGTCL for the trading of dual-use goods.
There are 2 types of OGTCL available to exporters. These are for:
- Category C goods
- small arms and light weapons
Category C goods are items that do not fall into either Category A or B of the UK Military List (part of the UK Strategic Export Control Lists). Category C goods also include certain items used for riot control or self-protection and related portable dissemination equipment.
For more information, see the guide on Open General Trade Control Licences.
The OGTCLs cover approximately 90% of licensing situations. However, if you cannot meet the conditions required to use an OGTCL there are 2 other licences to consider.
Standard Individual Trade Control Export Licence (SITCL)
The SITCL is used by traders to cover the trading of a set quantity of specified goods. This licence can be used for a one-off deal and requires specific information:
- country of origin and country of destination
- consignor and consignee details
- end-user details
The SITCL can be used for the trade of dual-use goods.
Usually, a SITCL is valid for 2 years or until the trade has taken place. Once the licence expires, a new application must be applied for if further trades are required.
Open Individual Trade Control Licence (OITCL)
An OITCL is a type of general permit that allows a range of activities, such as the trading of specific goods between any numbers of specified countries. This licence cannot be used for dual-use goods. An OITCL also requires specific information regarding country of origin and destination and/or specified consignor, consignee and end-user.
Generally, an OITCL is valid for 2 years.
How to apply for a Trade Control Licence
The ECO produces quarterly statistics on licence applications issued, refused or revoked by destination. This information gives an indication of the current timescales for issuing licences by destination. Download quarterly export licence statistics from the Strategic Exports - Reports and Statistics website.
The ECO issue details of amendments in their Notices to Exporters updates. You can receive these notices electronically by joining the ECO mailing list. Find contact details for the ECO.
For further details about open licences and including how to register, see the guide - Open General Licences: an overview).
BIS ECO Helpline
Email: email@example.com or call 020 7215 4594
Published: 11 September 2012
Updated: 12 December 2012
- Amended broken links and added related guides
- First published.
Related guides: Assessment of export licence applications: criteria and policy Extraterritorial Trade Controls UK Strategic Export Control Lists Open General Trade Control Licences Do I need an export licence? Dual-use open general export licences Controls on dual-use goods Brokering (trade) of dual-use items Trade controls (trafficking and brokering) Transport controls Trade controls on military goods for trade fairs and exhibitions