As part of the UK government’s planning for a No Deal Brexit, the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) has published an open general export licence (“OGEL”), allowing the export of dual-use items (with both a civilian and military application) from the UK to EU Member States and the Channel Islands (full licence here). The OGEL will come into force at 11pm on 29 March 2019 if the UK leaves the EU on that date without a deal or a transition period for its withdrawal.

In order to use this licence, exporters must first register through SPIRE, the UK Government’s export control electronic licensing system, stating that records of exports and transfers will be kept and detailing where they may be inspected.

The OGEL applies to all goods listed under Annex I of Regulation (EC) No. 428/2009, and excludes goods listed under Annex IV. The OGEL also replicates the exclusions currently in place on Annex I goods exported outside of the EU, by excluding goods that fall under Annex I if:

  • the exporter was informed by the Secretary of State that such items are or may be intended for use in connection with nuclear weapons or military items;
  • the exporter is aware that such items are or may be intended for use in connection with nuclear weapons or military items; or
  • the exporter has grounds for suspecting that such items are or may be intended for use in connection with nuclear weapons or military items, unless the exporter has made all reasonable inquiries as to their proposed used.

Finally, this licence comes with specific administrative conditions and requirements:

  • recordkeeping obligations (for at least 3 years from the end of the calendar year in which the export takes place);
  • notification to the Secretary of State of the exporter’s name and the address where records mentioned above are kept; and
  • inclusion of a note with the¬†goods that they are being exported under the OGEL (or giving their SPIRE reference).

All goods covered by Category O also come with an additional notification obligation to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.