Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control

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Export Control

The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control as a central licensing authority is responsible for the administrative implementation of the Federal Government's export control policy. Together with the monitoring and investigating authorities, especially the different customs offices, it is involved in a complex export control system.

Container Terminal – Hamburg Source: © Fotolia.com/M. Johannsen

Objectives of Export Control

The foreign trade with commodities of strategic importance, mainly weapons, armaments and dual-use items, is subject to control. Dual-use items are goods, software and technology that may be used for civil and military purposes. A milling machine, for example, may be used for processing components for civil as well as military products.

Within the framework of its legal and international commitments, the export control policy of the Federal Government is oriented to the security need and foreign political interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. Particularly its security must not be threatened by conventional armaments and weapons of mass destruction. German exports should neither intensify conflicts nor contribute to internal repression or other severe human rights violations in crisis areas. Its international involvement obliges the Federal Republic of Germany not to burden its foreign relations by critical exports.

With the increasing globalisation, efficient export controls are only possible on the basis of an intensified international and European co-operation. The Federal Republic of Germany is a member of numerous international treaties and export control regimes aiming at the harmonisation of export control regulations and licensing policies. Of special importance are the lists of items established by the international regimes; these lists are technically updated in regular periods.

International Export Control Bodies

There are four international export control bodies:

  • MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) – for items relevant for missile systems
  • Australia Group – for dual-use items relevant for chemical and biological weapons
  • NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) for items in the nuclear area
  • Wassenaar Arrangement – for armaments and dual-use items related to the area of conventional armaments

The export of dual-use items from the European Union has been harmonised to a large extent. It is subject to European law.

Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control regularly sends its experts to the meetings of the control bodies and the European union work groups.

Licensing procedure

One of the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control ’s main tasks is to check whether the export of a commodity is subject to licensing and if a licence may be granted.

An export licence is always required if the commodity is mentioned in the European or national list of items. Items covered by the lists range from weapons, ammunition and related production facilities via material, plants and equipment for nuclear purposes, high-grade materials, specific machine tools, electronic equipment, computers, telecommunications up to specific chemical units and chemicals. In addition to the licensing requirements for listed items, there are European and national licensing requirements depending on the use of the items. This "catch-all" clause normally applies to sensitive countries only. In case of certain countries, technical support as well as brokering activities are subject to additional controls.

An export licence may be granted if the export does not impair the foreign policy and security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. The legal and administrative problems are very complex when looking at the licensing procedure of dual-use items. Although the majority of them serve civil purposes, they can also be used in the military sector. Dual-use items make up the highest percentage of the millions of exports crossing the borders every year; normally their intended use is not directly visible. The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control  decides on granting or refusing an authorisation after taking into consideration all the available information about the intended use. In a number of cases the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control  takes such a decision only after political consultations with the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and the Federal Foreign Office. The granting of a licence is also made dependant on the exporter’s reliability. In this connection, the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control  may request the nomination of a person responsible for exports on the level of the management.

Embargoes

Another task of the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control is the administrative implementation of the embargo resolutions adopted by international organisations, for example arms embargoes imposed by the United Nations or the European Union.

Other Tasks

Other tasks in the export sector are the information on the list of items - in cases of doubt, it proves to the customs that a commodity is not included in a list of items - , the issuance of International Import Certificates (IC) and Delivery Verification Certificate (DVC) and the notifications for the United Nations Arms Register.

The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control  supports the work of the investigating authorities: within the framework of company audits, preliminary investigation and legal proceedings, the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control  submits statements on whether exports require and may obtain a licence.

War Weapons Control is connected with export control. Normally, the competent licensing authority is the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control  monitors all stocks of war weapons on the basis of notifications and company audits on the site.

Under the expert supervision of the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control  is the responsible licensing authority for imports and exports of nuclear fuels, other radioactive substances and radioactive waste.

Working Documents

The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control publishes the Handbook of German Export Control (HADDEX). Volume 1 explains the export control legislation currently in force, volumes 2 – 4 contain the most important laws, regulations and announcements. The handbook can be obtained from the Bundesanzeiger Verlagsgesellschaft.

A brief outline gives an overview of the German and European export control regulations.

Certification under Article 9 of Directive 2009/43/EC

The law implementing the directive on defence-related products entered into force on 4 August 2011 (Federal Law Gazette, Number 41, page 1595)

An application form and the “list of criteria” to be completed as well as an Information Leaflet dealing with the certification procedure may be downloaded here.

Certified enterprises

The Register of the Certified Defence-Related Enterprises (Certider – Data Bank of the European Commission) provides information about enterprises that are certified under Directive 2009/43/European Community of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 simplifying the terms and conditions for the transfer of defence-related products within European Union .

This register contains the list of competent authorities for certification, the list of certified enterprises, the details about certificates and the links to the relevant legislation.

General information

On 10 June 2009 the Directive 2009/43/European Community of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 simplifying the terms and conditions of transfers of defence-related products within the Community (directive on defence related products) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The major aim of this directive is to simplify licensing procedures for defence-related goods listed in Part I Section A of the Export Control List within the EU.

Therefore, the directive stipulates inter alia that by 30 June 2012 the European Union Member States publish further general licences which simplify certain transfers of defence-related products listed in Part I Section A of the Export Control List, including transfers to recipients certified as reliable within the European Union.

The general licence for transfers to certified reliable recipients is an instrument so far unknown in export control. While the reliable company has benefited from simplified export procedures up to now, the purpose of certification under the directive on defence-related products is that the supplier to the certified undertaking may use a general licence to deliver its products to the certified company. Consequently, the advantage to the certified undertaking is not a facilitation of its exports and transfers, but a simplified reception of defence-related products and, thus, a secure supply chain.

Such a facilitation presupposes, however, that the terms and conditions of certifying companies as reliable are harmonised within the European Union and are applied on the basis of equal standards. Therefore Article 9 of the directive on defence-related products defines the certification criteria and requirements of the certification procedure.

Newsletter Export Control

The Newsletter Export Control can be found in the News Archiv.

Informations on this Subject

Publications

Regulations (non-official translation)

Forms

Contact

  • Export ControlFederal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control Directorate General 2 – Export (Procedures), Licences, International Regimes (Procedures), Outreach-Projects Frankfurter Straße 29 – 35 65760 Eschborn GermanyReachabilityMonday to Thursday: 08:30 a. m. – 04:00 p. m.
    Friday: 08:30 a. m. – 03:00 p. m.
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