On 2021-04-09

What is Export Control?

Ship on the ocean

Are you sure that you are authorised to sell your products to foreign companies and to domestic ones established in foreign countries? Have you checked whether all the components and subsystems of your product can be exported ? Are you certain that you are allowed to share technical information with your foreign interlocutor ? Having these doubts could have heavy consequences both on people and organizations with regards to Export Control regulations non-compliance.


Since the early Middle Ages, technological knowledge has been a major strategic and economic issue for a State. This is the reason why governments have adopted rules and principles to regulate the circulation of information and technologies considered strategic from a geopolitics standpoint.

So what is export control?

Export control is the set of national and international regulations and laws that govern the strategic export of items that can be both tangible (technical component) or intangible (technical data).

What are export controlled items?

Two categories of controlled items

There are two categories of controlled items: military items which are those goods specifically designed or modified for military use and dual-use items that can be used for both civil and military applications.

These regulations define the way in which businesses are allowed, or not, to export controlled items. Sometimes exports towards embargoed countries or to blacklisted people and companies are forbidden. Sometimes businesses have to get licenses granted by national authorities before exporting or sharing technical information.

Each State has its own export control legal framework often based on international conventions. For EU businesses, they have to be compliant with EU regulations and national laws.

What are export control regulations?

One of the specificities of the Export Control rules is the extraterritorial jurisdictions of regulation especially regarding US regulations. It means that businesses have to ensure compliance of national, EU but also US regulations in some cases. This extraterritorial effect remains an efficient economic weapon.

Export Control non-compliance entails heavy penalties including both criminal and financial sanctions as well as a potential loss of export authorization and being blacklisted by the authorities.

This is the reason why EU companies have to adopt Export Control governance practices that implements the identification, classification and marking of controlled items and management of licenses in order to ensure business continuity and durability.

Now, are you sure to be compliant? 

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