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Recent amendments to export controls regulations

PRACTICE AREA GROUP: Technology and Commercial Contracts
DATE: 14.07.2011

At the end of 2009 legislation was enacted to give greater effect to the EU regime for the control of “dual use” goods and to further control the export of technology related to products on the EU Common Military List. The export of certain types of military and "dual-use" goods and technologies from EU countries is subject to an EU mandated export controls regime which has been implemented in Ireland by way of national regulations.

"Dual-use" goods and technologies are goods and technologies (including software) which are normally used for civilian purposes but which may have military applications. The legislation and requirements are complex and cover a wide range of common products produced by industries dealing with electronics, computers, telecommunications and aerospace technologies.

Under this regime, military or "dual-use" products may not be exported outside the EU customs territory without an appropriate export authorisation being granted.  In Ireland, the requisite export authorisation is obtained by application to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (the “Department”). Ultimately the exporter must correctly classify their goods to determine whether the regime applies and the Department is conscious of the complex nature of the requirements and is available to offer assistance and deal with queries in determining whether an authorisation is required.

Generally, exports of military goods and of controlled ‘dual-use’ goods will only be authorised by the Department following case-by-case examination of their consistency with Ireland’s international obligations and foreign policy objectives. In broad terms such policies are driven by the need:

  • to prevent the export of ‘dual-use’ items (that is, items which have both civilian and military uses) for the production or delivery of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction;
  • to prevent the export of military goods to countries whose behaviour is considered a threat to international or regional peace;
  • and to comply with restrictions imposed by the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe on exports to particular countries in order to bring about a change in the behaviour of the governments of these countries.

There are general exemptions and authorisations also applicable in certain instances. If you would like further information or to discuss whether your business may be affected by the EU and Irish export controls regime, please do not hesitate to contact your usual contact at Matheson and we can put you in contact with a member of our Information Technology Law Group.

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