On 18th July, the UK Government launched the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU), a collaborative unit within the Department for International Trade which draws upon the existing expertise and resources of the Export Control Organisation, the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office.

The ECJU’s purpose is to facilitate the responsible exportation of strategic goods and through this promote global security. The ECJU will report jointly to the Business, Defence and Foreign Secretaries. This reorganization represents the wider trend of structural changes to the UK’s national security system to establish a more coherent, cross-government approach to challenging issues.

Alongside this new initiative, the decision to grant or refuse an export licence in any individual case now lies with the Secretary of State of the Department of International Trade. However, certainly in the short-term, the export licensing process remains the same. Exporters are still required to use the SPIRE online export licensing system, and although the design for SPIRE’s replacement has been launched, there is no specific timetable for the project.