“We don’t have to worry about EU export controls, only the US issues penalties so we comply with those requirements…”
This statement is commonplace amongst EU companies when it comes to their export control compliance activities. It is true that US penalties are heavily publicised and attention-grabbing, such as the recent $30M fine for FLIR Systems Inc. and the combined penalty of up to $1.19B & 7-year Denial Order for ZTE Corporation. However, it is wrong to assume that just because the EU Member State governments do not frequently publish their penalties, they do not enforce their export control regulations.
Companies must comply with all applicable export control regulations and not just choose those to comply with based on their perceived risk of which government is more likely to issue penalties. There are several recent examples of export control enforcement within the EU:
- The UK’s HMRC prosecuted chemical supplier Carbosynth Limited for unlicenced exports of dual-use and military-controlled chemicals,
- The Belgian court announced that three companies (AAE Chemie, Anex Customs & Danmar Logistics) will face trial for unlicensed exports of banned chemicals to Syria,
- The UK’s HMRC issued a compound penalty of £109,312.50 to a UK exporter for unlicensed exports of military-controlled goods, and
- Germany’s public prosecutors have charged 5 managers of weapons manufacturer Sig Sauer with the illegal export of pistols to Colombia, via the US. If convicted, the suspects face potential prison sentences and the company faces a potential penalty of €12 Million.
At Customs Connect, we assist companies to not only understand their export control requirements but also how to implement efficient and effective controls which seamlessly integrate within their business. Companies need to understand upcoming changes to regulatory requirements and how these will affect their business, such as developments within EU and Member State Foreign Policy decisions (i.e. Iran, Syria, etc).
If you have any questions about your export control requirements and responsibilities, contact us on +44 (0)845 519 0878. Find out more about how we can assist you with export controls compliance here.