Export control guidelines on dual-use items for companies

It is easier for companies to deal with the licensing authorities if they have proper export control guidelines in place.

Dual-use items are items that have both commercial and military applications. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has prepared a recommendation for companies exporting dual-use items on the basis of which they can prepare their own export control guidelines (Internal Compliance Programme, ICP).

Best practices guidelines as part of the Wassenaar Arrangement

A list of elements that exporters should include in their guidelines is appended to the Best Practices document approved by the Wassenaar Arrangement Plenary in 2011.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs encourages companies to use these practices in their own export control guidelines.

Do I need a licence for exporting my product?

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

  1. defence materiel, the export of which is controlled by the Ministry of Defence
  2. a civilian weapon or ammunition, the export of which is controlled by the National Police Board
  3. a dual-use item referred to in Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009, Annex I, the export of which is controlled by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
  4. any other product, if according to section 4 of the national Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods (Laki kaksikäyttötuotteiden vientivalvonnasta) (as well as based on Article 4 of the Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009), 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 weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or their delivery to their destination or their military end-use in a country which is subject to an arms embargo. The national licensing authority is the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  5. a product that is to be exported to a country subject to sanctions, and if the products may include prohibitions and restrictions related to the product, the end-user or export. Applications for an export licence must be submitted to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, provided that obtaining a licence would be possible in the first place.

My product is not subject to export control regulations, and sanctions do not prevent 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?

Section 4, subsection 4 of the national Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods (562/1996) obligates the exporter 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 weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or their delivery to their destination or if the country in question is subject to an arms embargo and the products end up in military use.    This applies to exporters even though their products were not listed in category 1 of Annex I of Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009.  The obligation to notify applies also to brokers who know that their export items will end up in WMD purposes. Failure to notify may lead to criminal sanctions.

According to section 4 subsection 1, of the Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods (562/1996), the export,  brokering, transit or transfer of export items may be subject to authorisation also if the company responsible for the export, brokering, transit of 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 weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or their delivery to their destination.   

In accordance with section 4, subsection 2 of the Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods (562/1996), export may be subject to authorisation if the company responsible for the export 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 (562/1996), brokering services and transit of dual-use items listed in Annex I of Council Regulation (EC) 428/2009 may also be subject to authorisation if they are related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or delivery to their destination or military use in a country subject to an arms embargo.

How do I know if my products include defence materiel or are dual-use items subject to authorisation as provided for in the list of controlled items?

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

  1. and first determining if the products include defence materiel. The Common Military List of the European Union If you are unsure of the classification, it is good to contact the Ministry of Defence, Defence materiel listed in the Common Military List of the European Union.
  2. If the product is not defence materiel, you need to clarify if it is a dual-use item requiring an export licence. If the product is a dual-use item that includes technology controlled under Annex I of Council Regulation (EC) 428/2009, an export licence from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is required. Those that are most familiar with the product’s technical specifications, often the manufacturer, should primarily be responsible for assessing the product’s classification. 

Annex I of Council Regulation (EC) 428/2009 (in Finnish).

Note that the above-mentioned Annex I is updated every December.

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

Export licences are applied for via the Foreign Ministry’s e-service. Read more on the website of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

For more information about the definition of “the exporter” and about other export matters, please visit the Foreign Ministry’s website and at

Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods (562/1996) (in Finnish)

Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 on dual-use items (in Finnish).

My dual-use items will be exported to the EU and to countries outside the EU (known as “third countries”). What kinds of export licences do I need? How much does an export licence cost?

Export to the EU does not require an export licence from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs except for certain sensitive items such as nuclear products. For exports to third countries outside the EU, an individual export licence is usually needed. In certain cases, the exporter may also use the so-called Community General Export Authorisation. Use of the Community General Export Authorisation must be notified to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In case export to certain consignees in different countries continues for a longer time, a global export licence may have to be applied for. Find out more information about different export licences on the Foreign Ministry’s website. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs grants export licences 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. We advise you to read about sanctions imposed against individual countries and Questions and answers about sanctions

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

In addition to what is said in sections above, you can learn more for example by attending the Foreign Ministry’s export control sessions for companies. They are organised at least once a year and attendance is free. You can also book an appointment with an export control specialist at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

What happens if I have done mistakes in my export business? What are the penalties?

In accordance with section 7 of the Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods (562/1996), the Finnish Customs monitor compliance with the export control legislation and, as required, carry out inspections in companies. Under the Act on the Control of Exports of Dual-Use Goods (562/1996), violation of export control legislation may lead to criminal sanctions. However, the authorities may refrain from proceeding to action if the act, with regard to its negative impact and the guilt of the culprit as apparent from the act, can be judged insignificant as a whole and if public interest does not require that proceedings be instituted. It is therefore in all situations in the interest of the exporter to determine any possible uncertainties and mistakes relating to controlled export with the Foreign Ministry’s Export Control Unit without delay.

Inquiries

For more information about exports of dual-use items, contact the Export Control Unit of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (TUO-30), at tuo-30(at)formin.fi or vientivalvonta.um(at)formin.fi.

Export control brochure of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs: Export control brochure

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