Q&As

What will the impact of the end of the Brexit transition period be on the export controls applicable to ‘dual-use’ software?

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Produced in partnership with Roger Bickerstaff of Bird & Bird
Published on LexisPSL on 21/12/2020

The following Commercial Q&A produced in partnership with Roger Bickerstaff of Bird & Bird provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What will the impact of the end of the Brexit transition period be on the export controls applicable to ‘dual-use’ software?
  • The EU export control regime and UK position during the transition period
  • The EU’s plans for the future of dual-use export controls
  • Application of export control regimes after the end of the transition period
  • Exports of dual-use software from the EU to GB
  • Exports of dual-use software from the EU to another third country
  • Exports of dual-use software from GB to the EU
  • Exports of dual-use software from GB to countries outside the EU
  • Exports of dual-use software from the EU to NI or from NI to GB
  • Practical issues to consider
  • More...

The export of certain categories of software, and particularly encryption software, is controlled by export control regulations in the UK and the EU. Breaching export controls is a criminal offence.

The UK left the EU with the benefit of a transition (or ‘implementation’) period under the Withdrawal Agreement, meaning EU law continues to apply in and in relation to the UK until the end of the transition period (scheduled to end at 11 pm UK time on 31 December 2020). During the transition period, the UK remains in the EU internal market and the EU export control regime applies as if the UK were still an EU Member State.

After the end of the transition period, the EU Treaties, EU free movement rights and the general principles of EU law (such as the single market and the customs union) will cease to apply in the UK.

For the purposes of EU export controls at the end of the transition period, the UK (excluding Northern Ireland (NI), which is subject to specific laws) will immediately be regarded as being a ‘third country’ and Great Britain (ie England, Scotland and Wales) (GB) will establish its own, wholly separate, export controls regime. Exporters of software (whether the software is transmitted electronically or stored on physical exports) and providers of software as a service (SaaS) will need to consider the compliance

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