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Dual-use items and technology

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Dual-use items and technology

This Regulation sets up an effective system of controls for dual-use items (including software and technology) to be exported from the Community. This will ensure that the international non-proliferation commitments given by the European Union (EU) and its Member States are honoured. At the same time, these export controls ensure that dual-use items can move freely within the Community.


Council Regulation (EC) No 1334/2000 of 22 June 2000 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports of dual-use items and technology [See amending acts].


This Regulation establishes Community rules for controlling exports of dual-use items and technologies *.


Any products, software or technology that can be used for both civil and military purposes are considered to be dual-use items.

The Regulation does not apply to the supply of services or the transmission of technology if this involves the cross-border movement of natural persons.

Exporting dual-use items

The export of dual-use items listed in the annex to the Regulation is subject to authorisation. The authorisation is valid throughout the European Community (EC). The list itself is divided into ten categories.

A general Community export authorisation has been set up for certain categories of products destined for the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America.

Any other export authorisations required are to be granted by the competent authorities of the Member State in which the exporter is established.

In deciding whether or not to grant an export authorisation, the Member States must take into account their obligations as members of international non-proliferation regimes as well as any sanctions imposed by positions and decisions of the EU, OSCE or UN. Furthermore, they must give consideration to the European Union Code of Conduct on arms exports as well as the intended end-use and the risk of diversion.

An authorisation is also required for the export of dual-use items not listed in the annex if the exporter has been informed by the competent authorities that the items in question are or may be intended, in their entirety or in part, for use in connection with

  • the development, production, handling, operation, maintenance, storage, detection, identification or dissemination of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons;
  • the development, production, maintenance or storage of missiles capable of delivering such weapons.

Essential security interests

If an export might prejudice its essential security interests, a Member State may request another Member State not to grant an export authorisation or to annul, suspend, modify or revoke it. In such cases, the two Member States are to consult with each other immediately.

A Member State may provisionally suspend the process of export from its territory if it suspects that important information was not been taken into account when the authorisation was granted or that circumstances have materially changed.

Exporters must keep records of their exports. These records must contain information about the description and quantity of the items as well as the names and addresses of the exporter and consignee.


Export controls at European level for dual-use items and technology will help ensure that the international commitments given by the EU and its Member States with regard to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the dissemination of conventional weapons are honoured. These include, for example, participation in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which seeks to prevent the proliferation of nuclear items and technology, and the Australia Group (AG), whose aim is to stop the proliferation of chemical and biological items and technology.

Key terms used in the act

  • Dual-use items: items, including software and technology, which can be used for both civil and military purposes. This term also includes all goods which can be used for both non-explosive uses and assisting in any way in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1334/2000



OJ L 159, 30.6.2000

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 2889/2000



OJ L 336 of 30.12.2000

Regulation (EC) No 2432/2001



OJ L 338 of 20.12.2001

Regulation (EC) No 149/2003



OJ L 30 of 5.2.2003

Regulation (EC) No 885/2004



OJ L 168 of 1.5.2004

Regulation (EC) No 394/2006



OJ L 74 of 13.3.2006

Regulation (EC) No 1183/2007



OJ L 278 of 22.10.2007


Communication from the Commission of 18 December 2006 on the review of the EC regime of controls of exports of dual-use items and technology [COM(2006) 828 - Not published in the Official Journal].

Proposal for a Council Regulation of 18 December 2006 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports of dual-use items and technology [COM(2006) 829 - Not published in the Official Journal]. The Commission is proposing a comprehensive package with regard to controls on exports of dual-use items, i.e. a recasting of Regulation (EC) No 1334/2000 backed by a set of measures for improving the Community regime for the control of exports of dual-use items and technology. Given its role in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the control of exports of dual-use items and technology has been one of the main areas where stronger measures have proved necessary following the attacks of 11 September 2001. The Thessaloniki Action Plan and the EU Strategy against the proliferation of WMD of 2003 went some way towards this by calling on Member States to take specific/concrete measures and review their control procedures. Discussed by the Member States, the question also led the Commission to consult European industry with a view to amending and improving the Community regime. Control of exports of dual-use items and technology must combine the needs of security with the interests of European industries, which are at the forefront of this field, in order not to harm their competitiveness.

Accordingly, the set of proposals is designed to ensure greater security through effective controls and better coordination of them, and at the same time a user-friendly regulatory environment that will promote firms' competitiveness (clear rules, lighter constraints, consistent, uniform application, and easier trade).

The changes to the control regime are based partly on the impact study carried out by the Commission in 2005 and partly on Commission initiatives. They are intended in particular to strengthen and standardise controls, and improve the exchange of information on national controls and rejections. Thus some controls are introduced (transit, brokering) and others clarified (intangible transfers of technology, including the provision of technical assistance). On the other hand, national controls, even if they are not the subject of the Regulation, should be more transparent. The changes proposed also relate to the introduction of criminal sanctions for breaches of the Regulation and to increased transparency. The conditions of use of the general authorisations should be harmonised and the processing by national authorities of applications for authorisation (and requests for information) should be subject to deadlines. Exporters and suppliers of the most sensitive items will be obliged to register with the competent national authorities. In addition, a "comitology" procedure should be introduced for amendments to the Regulation or the adoption of implementing measures. To increase legal certainty, the Regulation provides for a comprehensive legal framework for the export of dual-use items, technology and services.

In this comprehensive package, the Commission also formulates proposals intended to buttress the framework in the Regulation by establishing guidelines and best practices to serve as reference standards for export controls, introducing the possibility of administrative measures in fields such as transparency and flagging possible future proposals.

Lastly, the Commission raises matters which need to be addressed but are wider in scope than the control of exports of dual-use items. One such area is international export control regimes, their limitations, the need for new Member States to accede to them, participation in them by the EU and the coordination of the EU's positions in this context. Another area concerns the need to strengthen technical assistance to third countries and international cooperation. This has already been furthered by the non-proliferation clauses in agreements between the EU and third countries and regions, such as the Cotonou Agreement. The stability instrument for the period 2007-13 also provides a priority vehicle for technical assistance.

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 of 23 July 1987 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff [Official Journal L 256, 7.9.1987]. The purpose of this Regulation is to establish a Combined Nomenclature that meets Customs Union tariff and statistical requirements and to create an Integrated Tariff of the European Communities, referred to as Taric.

Regulation (EEC) No 2603/69 of the Council of 20 December 1969 establishing common rules for exports [Official Journal L 324, 27.12.1969]. This Regulation establishes common rules for exports from the European Community (EC) based on the principle of freedom of export and lays down the procedures whereby the Community may implement the necessary monitoring and protective measures.

Last updated: 29.10.2007