Export licensing decisions

Licence applications are submitted to and processed by the Export Control Organisation (ECO), part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, through a purpose-built online licensing system called Spire. The ECO issues licences for controlling the export of strategic goods.

Whether or not an export licence is required is determined by four factors, the:

– nature of the goods due to be exported
– destination concerned
– ultimate end use of the goods
– licensability of trade activities of the goods due to be exported

Broadly there are two types of licence, individual and general. Licences can be standard or open.

Each licence names the goods that can be exported and specifies the destinations to which they can be exported, along with other details and restrictions. General licences are pre-published and can be used by all eligible exporters whereas individual licences are issued following a successful application and allow only those named on the application to export certain goods. Those exporting under general licences must adhere to the terms and conditions of the licence under which they wish to export. Exporters must register with the ECO to use a general licence and are subject to regular audits to ensure the licence terms and conditions are being adhered to. Those requiring an individual licence must submit an application to the ECO where they wish to make exports not covered by the terms and conditions of a general licence.

Generally, open licences can be used with fewer restrictions than standard licences. Standard licences tend to name a specific quantity of specific goods that can be exported to a specific destination whereas open licences may include a wider range of goods or destinations and generally do not limit the quantity of goods that can be exported.

OER Source: Strategic Export control country pivot – BIS