What are export controls?

If you're sending goods to another country, you need to check its export laws. This means finding out if you can ship there, if there's any restrictions on your goods and if the person or company you're shipping to is reputable.


What are export controls?

They are the laws and regulations applied globally, regionally and by countries to manage the export of certain items like technology, chemicals or military goods. The trading of these items could pose a threat to national or international security.

The controls also exist for the protection of trade. That’s why government authorities carefully monitor and regulate exported goods.

Do export controls vary for each country?

Yes. It’s important to know which laws apply in the country you operate from, the country you’re shipping to and the countries the goods may pass through in transit.

What do I need to be aware of before shipping?

Ask yourself these four questions before exporting:

What are the export controls and what do I need to check?

Commodity controls

This regulates the goods being exported. So you need to check the type of goods that can and cannot be shipped to certain countries. For example, are you shipping dual-use items like satellite equipment? If so, you might need an export license.

To check this, see if your goods have an Export Control Classification Number – better known as ECCN – on the Commerce Control List online. If it does, you’ll need an export license. Check out this video for more information on export licenses.

Prohibited destinations

Some countries may have embargoes or sanctions in place, which means you might not be able to ship goods there. To find out the countries you can’t ship to, check your own country’s government website.  

Denied Party lists

Is the company or individual you’re shipping to reputable? If they’re not and are listed as a Denied Party, you won’t be able to ship to them. You can find an example of some of the US Denied Party screening lists on the Bureau of Industry and Security’s website.

End-use of your goods

You need to know how your goods will be used once they’ve reached their final destination – make sure they won’t be used for alternative purposes or sent to anyone on the Denied Parties list.

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