Foire aux questions

Please note
These answers given on this page are to "standard questions", are not intended to replace legislation in force or the individual processing of export licence applications. They provide an initial response to facilitate understanding of dual-use requirements. In the case of the issue or refusal of an export licence, only the assessment of the application by the government is binding to the extent that the information provided by the applicant is sufficient for the examination of the application.

It is your responsibility to check the regularity of your future transactions with regard to financial sanctions (the Directorate General of the Treasury having responsibility for these matters) and whether the goods you wish to export fall under Regulation 428/2009 (dual-use items) or Regulation 267/2012 (Iran sanctions). If this is the case, an individual licence must be applied for in accordance with the procedures specified under "Documents to be provided and procedures by type of authorisation" (French only).

No, "civil" goods and technologies that are intended for a specific military use are not licenced under the dual-use licensing system, but they may be redirected to the War Material Export Authorisation Scheme (CIEEMG in French). Items that can be used, in certain circumstances, for the repression of civilian populations are also subject to control for the protection of human rights (e.g. helicopters & parts, riot control chemicals).

Yes, if it is an EU Member State and if it considers that your project threatens its security interests. Conversely, in the event that a French exporter plans to export a good from another EU State, France may oppose the issuance of the licence by that other State and initiate consultations. Finally, a non-EU country challenging a duly authorised French exporter or freight forwarder's plan to transport goods through its territory which it itself would not have authorised for export may initiate official consultations within 15 days of the issuance of the French licence (a control regime provision).

On the other hand, if it is a licence required for components of American origin, controlled as part of procedures under US domestic legislation (EAR or ITAR), France is not a party to these procedures and is generally not informed of them.

It is a sovereign act within the context of international objectives to which France has subscribed. France governs only the way in which these rules are applied on its own territory. France must also inform other EU Member States and its international control regime partners of the results of the procedures it manages (notification of denials). In this way, each licence issued can be used in every one of the EU's 28 Member States.

Countries subject to restrictive measures are given under a special heading on the Directorate General of the Treasury (DGT) website (French only).

Article 312-3 which was introduced into the Code Governing Relations Between Government Departments and the Public by Article 20 of the Government Reform Act for a Trust-Based Society (ESSOC) provides that "Any person may rely on the interpretation of a rule, even an erroneous one, made by these documents [instructions and circulars] for the purpose of applying it to a situation that does not affect third parties, as long as this interpretation has not been modified." The ESSOC Act has also introduced the notion of an "Information Certificate", enshrined in Article 114-11 of the Code Governing Relations Between Government Departments and the Public, with the following wording: "Any user may obtain, prior to the exercise of certain activities, information on the existence and content of the rules governing this activity. The government department to whom the matter is referred shall provide the user referred to in the first paragraph with a certificate of information on all the rules it is responsible for applying. The department shall be liable for any incomplete or erroneous information contained in the certificate that results in prejudice to the user. Decree 2018-729 of 21 August 2018 relating to the certificate of information on the rules governing an activity includes the export of dual-use items in the list of activities for which a user can obtain a certificate of information on the applicable standards (Article 1 (1)). In practice, a company wishing to benefit from the provisions of the law and request such a certificate may request the service of dual-use goods by dematerialised means, via a "non-licence-related request". The department's written response shall be considered as a certificate within the meaning of the above-mentioned decree.

After a decision has been notified, the applicant has two months to appeal the decision. This appeal may be ex gratia, hierarchical or contentious before the competent administrative court.

Due to public policy and national security concerns that issuing authorisations involve, the regulations stipulate that a non-response by the authorities within five months after issuance of the admissibility certificate shall be deemed to be a refusal. Here again, you have two months to contest this implicit refusal. You may also appeal against the refusal in an e-mail sent to the head of the dual-use goods department, in order to allow examination of the case to continue. This will result in an explicit decision at the end of the process, which opens the way to a new appeal period.

The value indicated in the licence is the export's maximum authorised value, as stated on the Single Administrative Document (Document Administratif Unique – DAU). In addition to export-related costs ("incoterms included"), you should include a small conversion margin for exports based on amounts given in foreign currencies.

If the recipient or end user is changed, you must submit a new licence application. If the change of name concerns the exporter in France, a request for regularisation must be filed with the SBDU, accompanied by the new K-bis extract for the establishment in question or, in the case of a dematerialised request, a new "Cancel and replace" authorisation must be requested.

Increasingly, depending on the good/destination country pairing, the EUC is systematically required. For a minimum of three years (or the length of the Exporter's register retention period), you must be able to present the original of the EUC to the authorities upon request. Therefore, you must keep this in your archives. A distinction should be made between the final destination (country), the final user and the final use (lawfulness). In addition to the EUC, a non-re-export commitment may be required.

The "Types of Licences" page of this site has information about the various licences available. For companies just starting to export dual-use items, or when a new "good/country" pairing is at stake, an individual licence is the starting point. However, National General Export Authorisations and Union General Export Authorisations are available to all exporters, within the limits of the countries and goods in question. Global licences, on the other hand, are tailor-made for exporters with a sufficiently large export volumes to justify them.

Dematerialised exchanges (e.g. by e-mail, telephone, file exchange, etc.) are considered intangible transfers, which are subject to the same controls as those conducted using physical media (USB key, optical disk, paper, and so on). They are subject to technology export controls and therefore require licences issued by the SBDU. Moreover, even though technology carried out during cross-border movements of persons are subject to specific provisions, it is important to bear in mind the need to exercise great caution when travelling for the purposes of attending scientific symposia and seminars. Often, proliferation develops through harmless conversations, through negligence rather than premeditation.

Brokering involves the sale or purchase of dual-use items with a view to their transfer, the negotiation or organisation of transactions for the purchase, sale or supply of dual-use items from one non-EU country to another. For goods controlled under Regulation 428/2009, as amended, a brokerage licence is only required following a measure notified by the SBDU to the exporter in question. However, obtaining a brokerage licence is mandatory for certain transactions controlled under sanctions regulations or the Defence Code.

Under the European Regulation, the person signing the export contract, and thus deciding that the goods are to leave the EU, must apply for a licence as an Exporter (in this case, the French buyer). In all cases, the exporter covered by the licence will be the same as the one indicated on the export declaration. A definition of an exporter is given in Article 2(3) of Regulation 428/2009, as amended.

Under the EU Regulation in force (428/2009), responsibility classifying goods lies with the exporter, who must file a declaration as to nature of the goods. The Dual-Use Goods Department intervenes ex-post by confirming or denying, after examining the submission, that the goods are or are not listed and that they are correctly characterised. For assistance, please see the page "Do I need a licence?"

While not assuming the exporter's responsibilities, the SBDU may assist companies that are encountering particular difficulties, particularly related to the complexity of the goods in the context of a non-licence request (French only).

The customs tariff regulation is not in line with that of dual-use items. However, items in the TARIC customs nomenclature can be marked with ''DU'', indicating a possible dual-use classification. They do not imply a systematic classification, but rather careful assessment of the nature of the item under consideration in light of Annex I of the Regulation.

The Business Consulting Units (CCEs) of the Economic Action Centres (PAEs) in the Regional Directorates of Customs and Excise, which help French companies to expand abroad, can answer your questions.