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  • Writer's pictureAlinea Customs

IT equipment and dual use/strategic controls

Is your company considering exporting electronics or Information Technology (IT) equipment? Firstly, it is advisable to ascertain whether the products are considered to be dual-use / strategic use items and technologies, which could be put to military use.


Dual use/strategic imports may be applied to IT equipment being exported. Further information is available use the Goods checker: https://www.ecochecker.trade.gov.uk/spirefox5live/fox/spire/


There are requirements that must be met by you, your importer or a third party in order to move goods to an overseas destination. Failure to meet these requirements could result in your goods being stopped at the overseas border. Computer hardware that requires an 5A002 (X002) export licence may have potential to be controlled in a missile guidance system or other type of military use. For example, this could potentially be due to an element of cryptographical capabilities in the hardware that can be altered, outside of the industry standards, which could make it difficult for agencies such as GCHQ or the National Security Agency (NSA) to decrypt or decipher.


Check the commodity code (HS) code what is required using the UK Trade Tariff website: www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk


Goods that are classified within the following harmonised schedule (HS) codes may require an export permit: 8517.11, 8517.13, 8517.14, 8517.18, 8517.61, 8517.62, 8517.69,

8517.71, 8517.79 if they are considered to be dual-use items and technologies.


If the exporter did not manufacture the goods, it is advisable to clarify this information directly with the suppliers and request for them to issue a formal document signed off by senior management or their legal department, that clearly states whether the document codes required for customs are either:


Code: X002 - licence required - specifying type of licence

Code: Y999 - no licence required.

Search IT Equipment Manufacturers Export Controls

In determining the appropriate classification for computer hardware, any hardware that you are shipping which has an ‘ECCN Classification’ of ‘5A002’ will require an export license to ship the hardware outside of the UK.


Other classifications such as 5A991, NLR (No License Required), or EAR99 (the United States' Export Administration Regulations) may apply.



Types of Licences


An Open General Export Licence (OGEL) is most frequently used to export controlled dual-use or military goods, software and technology overseas.


When an application for a licence is made, the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) have a statutory right to inspect the company's export records to ensure correct use of licences.


To apply for an OGEL, the company must make an application to use SPIRE, the online export licensing system.



Use ECJU’s OGEL and Goods Checker Tools database to identify and download the OGEL you require and to check the licence terms and conditions.



Once an application has been made the Export Control Organisation (ECO) will contact the applicant identifying that as new Open General Export Licence registrant, you will also receive an email from your allocated Compliance Visit Inspector (CVI) asking you to complete a questionnaire which is designed to assist the Export Control Organisation (ECO) in assessing your awareness of the licence(s) you have registered for.


This will also assist the CVI in deciding when would be the most suitable time to undertake the first compliance visit to the site. The applicant must complete this questionnaire and return it to the CVI within the deadline set . Once returned, the CVI may contact the company to clarify any issues raised in the questionnaire or arrange a date for the first visit.


If the type of licence required for exporting IT equipment is unknown, it is possible to submit a classification request on SPIRE or submit a Standard Individual Export License (SIEL). Either of these requests would require a technical specification of the products. The SIEL would also require an end user undertaking to be completed by the importer: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/end-user-undertaking-euu-form

The United States' Export Controls determined the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) often apply to IT Equipment irrelevant of origin. The US apply an ECCN (Export Control Classification Number) as the Dual Use Identifier.

US Re-Export controls need to be assessed based on the ECCN and the Commerce Country Chart.

Further information is available from the following sources:



For further guidance and support, please contact Alinea Customs' consultancy team.

Tel: +44 (0) 207 101 4242 Email: customs@alineacustoms.com

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