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HMRC internal manual

Strategic Goods and Services - BIS Export Licensing and Sanctions - General

HM Revenue & Customs
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Foreward: Law and Regulations

Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA)

The main legislation enabling HMRC and UKBA to enforce controls on goods subject to export prohibitions and restrictions is Section 68 of CEMA which provides that if goods are exported, shipped as stores or brought to any place in the UK for the purpose of being exported or shipped as stores and the exportation is or would be contrary to any prohibition or restriction for the time being in force, the goods shall be liable to forfeiture (so can be seized under CEMA s139) and the exporter or agent shall be guilty of an offence. Section 68(2) of CEMA provides the power of arrest for export offences of any person knowingly concerned in the exportation.

An offence will have been committed if the goods have been brought to a place for export or transhipment and either there is no valid licence for the goods or there is a valid licence and one of the conditions of the licence has not been complied with.

Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009

Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 of 27 August 2009 sets up a Community regime restricting the export of dual-use items and technology. The Regulation is directly applicable, attracting the penalties in CEMA section 68.

The Export Control Act 2002

This Act provides the basis for national prohibitions and restrictions on:

  • the export and transhipment of military goods and technology
  • the intangible export of military technology
  • trafficking and brokering in military goods
  • dual-use goods not covered by the Community Regulation.


The Export Control Order 2008

This Order lists the goods and technology subject to national prohibitions and restrictions, sets out the licensing arrangements and provides offences and penalties for activities not covered by CEMA.

Council Directive 91/477/EEC

The EC Weapons Directive, which categorises firearms.

Sanction Orders

A further range of goods and services is prohibited for export to certain destinations under Orders made under the United Nations Act 1946. A list of sanctions and embargoes is available on the FCO website.

Controls are administered by the Export Control Organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).