Report on export controls for electronic systems prompts action

24 March 2015

Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published techUK’s report on export controls for UK based electronic component and systems manufacturers.

In response, the Export Controls Organisation (ECO) has committed to implementing change to improve the export controls environment.

Through research and discussion with electronics exporting companies, techUK identified three areas which can impact negatively on UK exporters along with the actions that can be implemented to improve business opportunities: 

1)  Companies supplying components to military and other non-consumer product manufacturers both within the EU and worldwide are increasingly losing business to competitors in Europe.
2)  Where UK companies apply for licenses to export certain bespoke electronic components, the time taken for the license to be processed can far exceed the time taken to manufacture the goods. 
3)  Advice and guidance, concerning the classification of products, from both the ECO and from UKTI recommended consultants, can be unclear and confusing.

All but one company surveyed stated that the current enforcement regime in the UK has a negative impact upon their export business compared to similar companies or branches of the same company located in the EU and/or USA.

In response to these findings, and following discussions with Ministers, BIS and techUK, ECO has published an interim response committing to support change in a number of areas, including:

1)  Bringing forward proposals to re-introduce a Control List Classification advice service.
2)  Examining ways to introduce improved and more flexible open licensing solutions to meet exporter requirements.
3)  Undertaking a review of End User Undertakings to determine options for ensuring UK exporters are not at an unnecessarily disadvantage.

Paul Hide, techUK Director of Operations said techUK welcomes the positive engagement and agreement on improvement measures as a result of the report that was produced with input from electronics network partners. The acceptance by senior Ministers of the need for change and the support of key stakeholders within BIS and ECO can lead to a more efficient export controls process. They look forward to working with ECO and BIS to ensure that businesses can benefit from the improvement actions, as outlined in ECO’s interim report, at the earliest opportunity.

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