Our export control mission

To combat the destabilising accumulation of weapons in certain regions of the world, the French government imposes export controls on so-called "dual-use" goods and technologies.

It also aims to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. According to the standard definition, "dual-use items" include “goods, equipment – including technology, software, and intangible knowledge – which can be used for both civil and military uses or which may – in whole or in part – contribute to the development, production, handling, operation, maintenance, storage, detection, identification or dissemination of weapons of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction.”

These items, which are considered sensitive because of their intrinsic characteristics and transported from one region of the world to another for uses that are often declared to be civil, pose a threat to populations, including from a human rights perspective.

For several decades now, providing certain sensitive zones with non-military goods that could be potentially offensive when diverted from civilian use has been an increasingly critical issue for democratic governments. It has contributed to authorities in crisis regions either developing nuclear, bacteriological and chemical weapons, together with their means of delivery, or acquiring them in violation of treaties. To preserve world peace and respect for human rights, stronger international export control regimes for dual-use items are needed.

To honour their international commitments within these regimes, the EU introduced a Council Regulation setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items.

The four main international export control regimes for dual-use items serve as the basis for the list of goods and technologies annexed to Council Regulation 2021/821, which is the central reference for all 27 Member States in terms of export controls for dual-use items. The Annex also includes certain chemicals from the Chemical Weapons Convention list. This regulation applies directly and legally to all EU exporters.

Regulation (EU) 2021/821 is the reference text in force. Annex I on the list of controlled goods is updated annually.

Both the use and the destination of dual-use items exported outside the Community customs area must government-approved after careful examination. Trading outside the EU – and in some cases intra-Community transfers – of this type of goods and technology are subject to both documentary and on-site controls, with tax and/or criminal penalties in the event of infringement.

Opinions on applications for export authorisations are the prerogative of the French government.

Edited on 05/04/2022