Export control guidelines on dual-use items for companies

Dual-use items are goods that can be used for both civilian and military applications. In Finland, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is the national competent authority responsible for export control of dual use item. The Export Control Unit provides advice on export operations.

This page comprises instructions and answers to frequently asked questions.

My company is about to start exporting dual-use items. What do we need to do first?

First, read the related instructions and regulations.

The definition for an exporter and more information on other matters related to export can be found on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ website.

Also read the Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods 1996/562 (in Finnish only, obsolete version in English)(Link to another website.) and the (Link to another website.) (Opens New Window)Regulation (EU) 2021/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council.(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window)

Set up an internal compliance programme for your company. Help with this can be found on this page and the references on it, for example. Having a proper internal compliance programme for export control in place makes dealing with the national competent authority, i.e. the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, easier and faster.

A variety of guidelines exist for the effective implementation of export control in companies. The most important of these is the recommendation of the European Commission on best practices issued in 2019(Link to another website.).

The best practices of the Wassenaar Arrangement(Link to another website.) also have elements that exporters should include in their internal guidelines.

We encourage companies to make use of these best practices in their own export control guidelines.

Do I need an authorisation for exporting my product?

You need to apply for an export authorisation from a national competent authority for products (including software, technology, service) exported from Finland, if the item is

  1. defence materiel, the export authorisation for which is granted by the Ministry of Defence(Link to another website.).
  2. a civilian weapon or ammunition, the export authorisation for which is granted by the National Police Board(Link to another website.).
  3. a dual-use item listed in the EU Control List of Dual-Use Items, found in Annex I of the (Link to another website.) (Opens New Window)Regulation (EU) 2021/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window), the export authorisation for which is granted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  4. according to section 4 of the Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods(Link to another website.) or Article 4 of the Regulation (EU) 2021/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council, any other product, if the exporter has been informed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that the items in question are or may be intended, in their entirety or in part, for WMDs or their delivery to their target or for military end-use in a country which is subject to an arms embargo, the export authorisation for which is granted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

An authorisation is also required for products that are to be exported to a country subject to sanctions. Sanctions can include prohibitions and restrictions related to products, their end-user or the export operation. Applications for an export authorisation must be submitted to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, provided that obtaining an authorisation would be possible in the first place.

My product is not a dual-use item subject to export control regulations, and sanctions do not prevent its export. I suspect, however, that my products will end up in weapon of mass destruction or military end-use in sanctioned destinations. What should I do?

Report it to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods(Link to another website.) obligates exporters to notify the Ministry for Foreign Affairs if:

  • the exporter is aware or has reason to believe that the goods in question are intended, in their entirety or in part, for WMDs or their delivery to their target;
  •  the export destination country is subject to an arms embargo and the products may end up in military use. 

Exporters must comply with this obligation even if the products do not belong to the product categories listed in Annex I of the EU Regulation(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window).

The obligation to notify also applies to brokers who know that their export items will end up in WMD purposes. Failure to notify may lead to criminal penalties.

According to legislation(Link to another website.), the export, brokering, transit or transfer of export items may also be subject to authorisation also if:

  • the party responsible for the export, brokering, transit or transfer has been informed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that its products are or may be, in their entirety or in part, intended for WMDs or their delivery to their target;
  • the exporter has been informed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that its products are or may be, in their entirety or in part, intended for military use in a country subject to an arms embargo.

By an announcement of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, based on section 3 of the Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods(Link to another website.), brokering services and transit of dual-use items listed in Annex I of the EU Regulation(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window) may also be subject to authorisation if they are related to WMDs or delivery to their target or military end-use in a country subject to an arms embargo.

How do I know if my products include defence material or are dual-use items subject to authorisation and listed in the EU Control List of Dual-Use Items?

As an exporter, you are responsible for the correct classification of your products.

First, you must determine if your products are defence materiel. The website of the Ministry of Defence(Link to another website.) includes a link to the current list. If you are unsure of the classification of your products, contact the Ministry of Defence(Link to another website.).

If your product is not defence materiel, you need to determine whether it is a dual-use item requiring an export authorisation. If the product is a dual-use item that includes technology controlled under Annex I of the EU Regulation(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window), an export authorisation from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is required.

The responsibility for assessing a product’s classification falls on those that are most familiar with the product’s technical specifications, i.e., most commonly the manufacturer.

My product is a controlled dual-use item and I need an export authorisation granted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. How do I apply for an export authorisation?

Export authorisations are applied for in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ e-service. More information for applying for an export authorisation can be found on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ website.

My dual-use items will be exported within the EU and to countries outside the EU (‘third countries’). What kinds of export authorisations do I need? How much does an export authorisation cost?

Export within the EU does not require an export authorisation from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, except for certain particularly sensitive products, such as nuclear products.

For exports to third countries outside the EU, an individual authorisation is usually required. In certain cases, the exporter may also use the Union General Export Authorisation. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs must be informed if the Union General Export Authorisation is used.

If the export to certain consignees in different countries is continuous, a global export authorisation can be used with certain conditions.

Find out more information about the different export authorisations on the Ministry for Foreign Affair’s website.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs grants export authorisations free of charge.

I intend to export my products to a country that is subject to sanctions. What should I do?

Sanctions may prohibit or restrict exports in certain cases. 

Find out the country-specific sanctions and read the frequently asked questions about sanctions (only in Finnish) before starting your export operation.

I intend to export products or components originating in the United States. Where can I get advice on export control?

In matters related to the export control of the United States, contact the appropriate U.S. authorities.

 The United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) controls not only the export of items from the United States, but also the reexport of certain items from one foreign country to another, or the transfer of such items from one party to another within the same foreign country.

BIS’s reexport and in-country transfer controls apply not only to items originally produced in the United States, but also to certain items produced outside the United States incorporating more than a de minimis level of controlled U.S.-origin content, or which are the direct product of certain controlled U.S.-origin software or technology.

BIS license requirements are determined by the control status of the items, the destination country, and the end use and end user.  When reexporting or transferring (in-country) items subject to BIS’s jurisdiction, you should determine whether a party to the transaction is included in the U.S. Government’s Consolidated Screening List(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window).

For additional information about U.S. reexport and in-country transfer controls, we ask that you contact the U.S. authorities.  You may wish to consult the BIS website(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window).  Guidance specifically related to U.S. reexport controls is available here(Link to another website.).

You may also contact BIS directly with any questions at +1 202-482-4811 (available Monday-Friday from 8:30AM-5:00PM (GMT-5:00)) or via email to ECDOEXS@bis.doc.gov.  Additionally, you may contact BIS’s Regional Export Control Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany at +49 69 7535 3122 or +49 17 0189 0148, or via email to Christina.Speer@trade.gov or Juven.Martin@trade.gov.

For questions about

More information can be sought for example from the US Embassy in Finland(Link to another website.) (Opens New Window)

Where can I get advice and support in export control matters?

In addition to the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, you can learn more by attending the Ministry’s export control sessions for companies, for example. More information on the sessions can be found on the Ministry’s website and social media accounts. Participation is free of charge.

Support in export control matters can be requested from the Ministry’s Export Control Unit by email (vientivalvonta.um(at)formin.fi.). You can also contact the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ export control specialists.

What happens if I have made a mistake in my export business? What are the penalties?

According to legislation(Link to another website.), the Finnish Customs(Link to another website.) monitors compliance with the export control legislation and carries out inspections in companies when necessary. Violating export control legislation may lead to criminal penalties.

However, the authorities may refrain from taking action if, considering the scope of the negative impact of the violation and the guilt of the violating party as apparent from the violation, can be deemed insignificant as a whole and if public interest does not require the authorities to take action.

Therefore, in all situations it is in the interest of the exporter to clear up, without delay, any uncertainties and mistakes relating to controlled export with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Export Control Unit.

Inquiries

For more information about exports of dual-use items, contact the Export Control Unit of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs at kpo-40(at)formin.fi or vientivalvonta.um(at)formin.fi.

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