New UK Open General Export Licences for Components

by Dechert LLP

UK exporters may now use two new Open General Export Licences (OGELs), reducing the administrative burden of exporting a range of military and dual use components, including printed circuit boards.

The UK’s Export Control Organisation (ECO) had originally hoped to issue a single new OGEL for a much wider range of both military and dual-use components at this time. This would have included many components specially designed for military use, to respond to long-standing industry concerns that the licensing requirements for many items - particularly printed circuit boards (PCBs) - are disproportionately burdensome. It is understood that discussions between the government Departments concerned are taking more time than had been anticipated. These more limited new OGELs have therefore been issued in the interim while those discussions continue. But the intention remains to issue a single, wider licence in the coming months.

OGEL (PCBs and Components for Military Goods)


The new licence contains all the standard conditions for military OGELs with two main differences:

  • the licence does not require a formal, written undertaking from the consignee to confirm the end-use of the goods. This will considerably simplify the use of the licence. But it remains advisable nonetheless to conduct due diligence on the end-user and their intended end-use of the goods to be satisfied that they will meet the conditions of the licence, and to include this as a requirement in the sales contract and/or Terms and Conditions;
  • the licence does not include the usual option of applying to the Ministry of Defence for a ‘Form 680’ to permit the release of information subject to a security classification of ‘Official-Restricted’ or above. Goods with such a classification may not be exported under this licence.


The licence covers all unpopulated (i.e. bare) printed circuit boards, connectors, wiring looms and harnesses, fasteners, washers, spacers, insulators, grommets, bushing, springs, cable and wire as specified in the UK Military List categories:

  • ML5 (fire control and related equipment);
  • ML6 (ground vehicles);
  • ML 9 (vessels);
  • ML10 (aircraft, other than items relating to unmanned aerial and lighter-than-air vehicles);
  • ML11 (electronic equipment related to any of these categories, except certain components usable in missiles with a range over 300km);
  • ML15d (infrared and thermal imaging equipment); and
  • ML22 (technology related to any of these categories).

It is understood that the ECO is open to well-reasoned proposals from exporters to widen the scope of the licence to include other categories or items. If the ECO agrees, they will amend the licence accordingly. But, having decided against earlier proposals to include items in ML4 (bombs and missiles), the ECO clearly remains cautious about this category.


The licence is valid for all countries except those subject to an arms embargo (which, for the UK, continues to include Argentina). Additionally, Pakistan and China are excluded, as they are from most other military OGELs given the sensitivity of military exports to those countries.

OGEL (PCBs and Components for Dual-Use Goods)


The new licence includes all the standard conditions of dual-use OGELs. In common with the Military Goods licence, it does not require a Consignee Undertaking to confirm the end-use of the goods.


The licence covers all the same types of components as the military OGEL (i.e. unpopulated printed circuit boards, connectors, etc.) as specified in all the categories in the EU Dual-Use listthat include specially designed components, except for goods controlled by the Missile Technology Control Regime (e.g. most items in Category 7, Navigation and Avionics) given the higher risks involved in the export of such goods.


The licence is valid for all countries (except, as usual for dual-use OGELs, EU Member States and countries eligible for the EU General Export Authorisation) with the exclusion of countries subject to an arms embargo. Additionally Pakistan is excluded - but, unlike the military OGEL, China is included as a permitted destination.

The Next New OGEL – Encryption?

Consideration is also being given to a new OGEL to cover ‘information security’ products using encryption, controlled under Category 5 Part 2 of the Dual-Use list, one of the largest categories by volume of controlled UK exports. But before that is taken forward, UK industry is pressing for many such products to be taken out of export controls altogether by a less restrictive interpretation of the definition2 of a ‘mass market’ item.

UK exporters argue that many items that are licensable in the UK do not require a licence in the US or in some other EU Member States. This causes UK companies to lose business and increases the licensing burden both on them and on the UK Government. This licensing requirement is without evident security benefits (i.e. from restricting access to sensitive equipment by those who might misuse it) since the items can be freely obtained from the US and elsewhere. In the US, they argue, clearer guidance, based on a less restrictive interpretation of the controls, enables exporters to self-classify whether their products are ‘mass market’, subject to registration and annual reporting requirements that enable the regulators to manage the limited risks in a proportionate, light-touch way. Pressure is building on the UK government to adopt a similar approach.

In parallel, the European Commission is continuing to work on proposals to revise the EU Dual-Use Regulation. These are likely to include new EU General Export Authorisations (equivalent to the UK’s OGELs) for a range of products and transactions including on encryption products. The Commission’s aim is to reduce both the licensing burden on exporters and distortions of competition that may arise from differences in licensing practices between Member States. But the shape and timing of these proposals remains unclear, and changes to the UK system seem likely to go ahead first.

What does this mean for you?

The new OGELs will significantly reduce the administration required for the export licensing of a large volume of military and dual-use components. If you are an exporter of goods which may come within their scope, you should study the licences to determine whether your goods are covered and whether you can meet the conditions set out in the licences. If that is the case, you may register to use the licence(s) on the ECO’s online applications system, SPIRE, and begin exporting under the licence(s) immediately. If as a result some of your existing individual licences will no longer be needed, you should surrender them to the ECO.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Dechert LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.