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    Sanctions in export controls: Are you ready for Brexit?

    Transition period

    European Union (EU) sanctions will continue to apply in the UK during the transition period as from 31 January until 31 December 2020. During this transition period sanctions of the United Nations (UN) will also continue to be implemented in the UK through EU law. 

    UK Sanctions

    At the end of the transition period UK Sanctions will come into force through UK Law. The UK will implement several sanctions regimes through regulations under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (the Sanctions Act). This act will provide the legal basis for the UK to impose and update sanctions after the transition period.

    There will be no gaps in implementing existing sanctions measures after the transition period. Some EU sanctions regimes may not be addressed through the Sanctions Act. However, these will continue to apply pursuant to the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. UK sanctions measures can apply to action taken by anyone in the UK (including its territorial waters) and to action taken by a UK national outside of the UK. Sanctions can also apply to legal entities incorporated in the UK.

    The current export licensing arrangements will continue to apply during the transition period. This includes the arrangements for exporting all strategic items. This implies that may need to have a licence to comply with UK sanctions.

    After the transition period

    While pursuing independent sanctions policies imposed by their respective foreign policies, the UK and EU announced to exchange information and the possibility of adopting sanctions that are mutually reinforcing. However, the UK sanctions may differ and set additional and/or alternative requirements. Individuals and legal entities should check new UK legislation and ensure to comply.

    More specifically, as from 1 January 2021 the export of dual use-items to and from the UK will require a UK license. This implies that current licenses will no longer be valid after the transition period. The UK Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) is responsible for the licensing and control.

    Please also see the articles on the impact of Brexit in other practice areas. For a more detailed analysis of the impact of Brexit on your business, please do not hesitate to contact any of our experts.

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