By: Reid Whitten

On June 15, the European Union put into effect some 271 changes to its dual-use export control regulations.  The changes represent an update of the entire European export regime to incorporate numerous changes made in accordance with international agreements reached in the past few years.


Dual-use export controls imposed by the European Union, much like the U.S. Export Administration Regulations, regulate the export of items that have both commercial and military purposes.  Under the EU regulations, controlled items may not leave EU customs territory without export authorization.  The EU regulations also impose controls on brokering such dual-use items.  Subject to limited exceptions for tightly controlled items, dual-use items may be traded freely within the EU.


The basic structure of the EU’s dual-use export control regulations will not change significantly, as most of the amendments are technical: changes include removing or reducing controls on certain items, and amendments to the definitions and descriptions of certain goods. The changes will, however, bring the EU dual-use controls in line with the specifications of a number of international agreements including: the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Australia Group.

Most of the updates to the EU controls were driven by changes made to the Wassenaar Arrangement, a multilateral export control regime focused primarily on the transparency of national export control regimes.  Since 2009, a number of updates have been made to the Arrangement and the EU dual-use regulations now reflect many of those changes.

Because the Wassenaar Arrangement includes all but one of the EU Member countries, the EU regulations needed to be updated accordingly.  In addition, because the 41 participants in the Arrangement include the United States and Japan, the updates should increase harmony in dual-use regulations across the globe.

What’s Next

These amended EU regulations should make it easier to ship goods between the United States and Europe.  Yet European exporters, and the U.S. companies that do business with them, should nonetheless be sure to review the regulations controlling their exported dual-use items, technology, or software.  There may be new licensing requirements, or license exemptions, that did not exist previously.   Careful exporters may be able to reap substantial benefits from these new changes.