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Current Arms Embargoes and Other Restrictions

This section outlines the UK's international commitments on export controls. It details current arms embargoes and other relevant restrictions in force with respect to specific countries, on all countries or on terrorist organizations.

To ensure you keep updated with any changes - such as revocation or modification of existing sanctions and embargoes or resulting changes to licences - then join the ECO mailing list to receive the latest Notices to Exporters.  

Arms Embargoes

This list below details specific countries where there are sanctions which have been imposed or changed by the UN, EU and others and where the UK has imposed regulations as a result.  

NOTE: Some goods which are not on the UK Military List may need an export licence under the military end-use control. All the countries indicated by a  * are subject to military end-use controls.


Lifted Embargoes

Other restrictions

Exporters should be aware that there is a wider list of countries that are subject to other types of restrictions.

In particular the ECO is concerned with the following restrictions:

Restrictions for the maintenance of Regional Peace and Stability

  • West African States
    • Comprising: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Cote D’Ivore (Ivory Coast), Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo
    • Each of these 15 countries forms part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is a regional group founded in 1975 to promote economic integration.

Restrictions on non-conventional and dual-use items

Countries whose sustainable development might be damaged by arms exports

You should also be aware of the list of countries currently eligible for loans from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA). The IDA's remit is help the world's poorest countries by providing interest-free credits and grants for development programs.

Access the IDA website - List of Borrowing Countries page.

This list includes both countries where there are specific sanctions and embargoes in place and others where arms exports might seriously hamper a countries economic and sustainable development, as defined in the Consolidated EU and National Arms Exports Licensing Criteria (Either see below or access link to Licence Decision Making).


Other non-arms related restrictions

In addition to the information provided on the BERR website you are advised to access:

  • The Foreign Office (FCO) is responsible for overall UK policy on international sanctions. The FCO website provides an A-Z index of Sanctions and Export Controls by Country. You are also recommended to consult this list. This listing provides wider, more comprehensive information relating to countries where there are other restrictions in place (such as visa and financial sanctions).
  • HM Treasury's Asset Freezing Unit is responsible for the implementation and administration of international financial sanctions in the UK. See more on Financial Sanctions
  • The European Commission website has an up to date list of EU Sanctions in force. You should note this includes details of financial and other restrictions as well as arms embargoes and sanctions.


Other Defence Export Policies and Restrictions applying to all countries

The UK Government is a party to internationally agreed criteria governing the export of arms and military equipment. These are:

All licence applications to export arms and other goods controlled for strategic reasons are considered against these criteria on a case by case basis.

For more information see the Legislation and Policy section.

The UK also prohibits the export of specific goods from the UK to any country.

These goods include:

  • portable devices designed or modified for riot control purposes or self protection to administer an electric shock, specially designed components for such devices and electric-shock belts designed for restraint of a human being
  • anti-personnel landmines and their component parts.
  • blinding laser weapons.
  • significant new nuclear supplies or materials to countries other than recognised nuclear weapons states, where there are any unsafeguarded nuclear installations.
  • ban on the transfer of MANPADs to non-state end users. MANPADs will only be exported to foreign governments or to agents authorised by a government (for more information see Licensing Guidance on MANPADs)

Restrictions applying to terrorist organizations

The United Nations Security Council has imposed measures against terrorist organizations.The UN website contains instructions for accessing the UN established and maintained list of people/entities belonging to or associated with Al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Export Licencing Application Statistics

You should be aware that the ECO publishes Quarterly Reports and an Annual Report which outline details of licences issued, refused and revoked by destination and the time of processing applications by destination. Access the export control Performance Reports and Statistics.


NOTE: The information provided on these pages does not constitute legal advice, which should be sought if required.


Export Control Organisation

Updated: 27 November 2009


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