The Export Control List and End-Use Concerns

How to use the UK Strategic Export Control List and information on when an end-user check is required.

Export Control Licence Assessment

An assessment should initially be made on whether a licence is required for specific Items. This can be done using the UK Strategic Export Control List and/or the goods checker tool. The list is nearly 400 pages long, so the goods checker tool is there to carry out key word searches to find the relevant code and provide specific information rather than having to look at the whole list. Most exports from the University will be for Software and Technology, so intangible Items. However, it’s first necessary to identify the physical Item code to then find the relevant Technology code associated with it.

See the below short video (MWS login to Panopto required) for guidance on how to use the UK Strategic Export Control list and/or follow the steps below:


  1. Visit the goods checker tool and use the key word search box. You should consider the physical goods you will use in your research/activity or that your research is applicable to. Search for items that you use in your research (samples, materials, equipment) as well as items that your research will be applicable to. For example, materials (name of the material) for the development of aeroengines (the engine/aircraft). Most exports will be related to Software or Technology that applies to a physical good but you first need to find the relevant code for the goods. Keep a list of the key words checked, if necessary ask a colleague to check to ensure all terms have been considered. Only Items which are on the UK Strategic Export Control List are controlled, if an item doesn't feature, it isn't controlled. 
  2. Next to the relevant Item on the goods checker tool is an option to ‘view goods checker entry’ which will provide further information and importantly the technical thresholds that need to be met for a physical good to be controlled. If you will export goods and it is on the list, an Export Control licence will be needed. If you won’t export a physical good, move to part 3 to check the Technology associated with it. 
  3. Once you have identified the code for a physical good(even if you won’t export it) you will need to identify the Technology code associated with it. On the Goods Checker, click “Goods Checker Browse” on the left menu, then see ‘Annex I’. At this stage please read the ‘General Technology Note’ or ‘Nuclear Technology Note’. Then see the relevant category which is split into 5 subcategories lettered A-E, where A-D refers to the physical Items and E refers to the Technology, see the Technology section. If you will be exporting Technology which is listed and therefore controlled, you will need to obtain a licence.

Please note: as your research or activity changes you will need to reassess whether an export control licence is required depending on the nature of the changes.

End-Use Concerns

The decision whether to apply for an export licence is a technical one that can only be made by someone with knowledge of the project/activity and the nature of the Items to be exported. Therefore, the decision whether to apply for a licence will primarily lie with the PI or person exporting the Item.

If you have assessed there are no Items which are controlled and therefore an export control licence application is not required you might still need an export licence even if your goods, technology or software are not listed on the UK Control Lists. This applies if the items will be transferred or disclosed to an end user who might use them for:

  • Military purposes in a country subject to embargoes (Military End-use Controls)
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) purposes, namely for chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or means for their delivery (WMD End-use Controls); 
  • Human rights violations, e.g. torture and capital punishment (Human rights concerns).

Military End-use Controls: 

This includes dual-use Items not controlled but where the exporter has been informed those Items are or may be intended for any of the following in a key country with an arms embargo:

  • incorporation into military equipment, or
  • the development, production or maintenance of such equipment, or
  • use in a plant for the production of such equipment

The same export controls apply to dual-use Items that may be intended for use as parts of military goods that had been illegally exported from the UK, irrespective of their destination.

WMD End-use Controls:

Items must not be exported if there is suspicion or you have been informed those Items might be used to make biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons of mass destruction, or their means of delivery, for example missiles or bombers or the systems and technology which supports them.

WMD end-use controls are considered for all export licence applications. If there is evidence or concerns that the end user of Items might be connected to a WMD or ballistic missile programme the export control licence application will likely be refused.

WMD end-use controls also apply to:

  • Brokering of controlled dual-use Items intended for WMD purposes;
  • Managing the transfer of software or technology for a WMD purpose either inside the UK or overseas

Human Rights Concerns:

The UK Strategic Export Control Lists include the Human Rights List, which includes Items that can be used to violate human rights, for example in relation to torture and capital punishment. 

Human rights concerns are considered for all export licence applications. A icence application might be refused due to evidence or concern the end user is or may be implicated in human rights violations. There is a trend towards stricter export controls on Items within cyber suveillance and tracking field that may facilitate violation of human rights. 


An end-user check should be done if you have concerns that an entity (collaborator, funder, visitor, institution, company or organisation) you're engaging with may be involved with Items intended for military use, WMD or human rights concerns, or there are any red-flags. An end-user check is most appropriate for entities based in a key country or if you have concerns that the ultimate end-user (so not your direct collaborator/funder etc) is based in a key country.

If you believe an end-user check should be carried out please complete the Export Control Query form to provide information to the International Risk & Export Control Officer for further action.




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