What are Dual-Use Goods?

What are Dual-Use Goods

Definition of dual-use goods - how often do you have to explain that dual-use doesn't mean something used by both military and civil end-users but something more technical.  How do you explain it?

Dual-use products and technology are classed as “strategic goods” as their inherent capabilities means they could be diverted to be used in a military or WMD environment without modification.  The inherent capabilities can be the materials they are made of (eg withstanding very high or low temperatures), running speeds, encryption, cutting-edge technology in the field, etc, etc.  The levels of technology that are a concern, in other words on which the dual-use regulations are set, is based on a multi-country agreement called the Wassenaar Arrangement.  Full member countries include all EU member states plus Australia, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada and the USA, there are also other observer countries.  Each country then sets out its own dual-use controls based on the Wassenaar Arrangement.

Let me stress that the term “dual-use” under export control regulations does not mean a product which can work on both civil and military platforms without modifications it only refers to a product with the high level of technological capabilities as laid down in the dual-use list.  If a product is deemed to come under export controls as a “dual-use item” it means controls are in place to ensure it does not go outside of the Wassenaar group/partners without the export being approved/licensed by the competent authority.  In the USA dual-use regulations are within the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and products are either EAR99 (below the level of control) or given a specific category number called an Export Classification Code Number or ECCN, eg 5A001.

In the EU we have a standard Dual-Use European Community list known as DUEC incorporated into the Strategic Export Control List of the UK.  The technical parameters are very, very similar to the USA regulations so if you are given an ECCN from a supplier you can cross-reference this to the DUEC category numbers.  If a product or related technology is controlled under DUEC then it can freely circulate around the EU without needing an export licence apart from some chemicals, but you must obtain evidence from your EU customer that they will not be forward to embargoed/sanctions markets or use to support WMD project.  As a supplier of dual-use goods within the EU you must still advise the customer of the controls on commercial paperwork, ie the invoice, that they are receiving dual-use products just in case they need to seek export permission to move the goods out of the EU to a 3rd country.


Further Information:

Trading with the USA: Defence/Imports & Exports
Introduction to UK Export Licensing Controls
What's New: International Trade Procedure Updates

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