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What are dual-use goods? 

Dual-use items are goods, software, technology, documents and diagrams which can be used for both civil and military applications. They can range from raw materials to components and complete systems, such as aluminium alloys, bearings, or lasers. They could also be items used in the production or development of military goods, such as machine tools, chemical manufacturing equipment and computers. 

Dual-use goods are listed in Annex 1 to Council Regulation (EC) No 2021/821​​ which is directly applicable in all EU countries, including Malta. The alpha-numeric code of dual-use goods stands for the below: 

Control categories 

  • 0      nuclear materials 
  • 1      materials, chemicals, ‘micro-organisms’ and ‘toxins’ 
  • 2      materials processing 
  • 3      electronics 
  • 4      computers 
  • 5      telecommunications and information security 
  • 6      sensors and lasers 
  • 7      navigation and avionics 
  • 8      marine 
  • 9      aerospace and propulsion 


  • A      systems, equipment and components 
  • B      test, inspection and production equipment 
  • C      materials 
  • D      software 
  • E      technology 

Regime origin 

  • 0      Wassenaar Arrangement 
  • 1      Missile Technology Control Regime 
  • 2      Nuclear Supply Group 
  • 3      Australia Group 
  • 4      Chemical Weapons Convention 

If the product you want to export is listed, you will need to apply for a licence. 

Exports of other non-listed goods may also be controlled if the country of destination is subject to UN, EU or OSCE sanctions. 

Why are exports controlled? 

The EU controls the export, transit and brokering of dual-use items so as to contribute to international peace and security and prevent the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). 

EU export controls reflect commitments agreed upon in key multilateral export control regimes such as the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime. 

What do the controls cover? 

Controls cover the export, transit and brokering of dual-use items. For goods listed in Annex IV to Council Regulation (EC) No 2021/821​ - which lists the most critical dual-use products which are subject to the strictest controls - a licence is needed for all destinations i.e. even for transfers to other EU Member states. 

What if I do not apply for a licence for controlled goods? 

The cargo/item could be intercepted by Customs who would withhold it until it is determined whether it is subject to licensing. One would also be prone to the penalties listed in article 15 of Subsidiary Legislation 365.12. 

How do I decide if I need an authorization? 

The first step is to determine whether the item is listed by comparing the item specifications with the descriptions set out in the legislation. If the product is listed in the Annex I to the regulation, it is subject to authorisation. Some controls apply to certain destinations only and where this is the case it is stated in the legislation. For example, Annex IV items need to be licensed even if they are being transferred to a fellow Member State. 

In addition, non-listed items which could be used e.g. in connection with a WMD programme – would also be subject to licensing through the catch all clause. Where UN trade sanctions or a binding UN arms embargo applies, the supply or delivery to the country concerned of controlled goods may be subject to control. 

You might wish to seek advice from the Trade Services Directorate providing all the relevant technical information and specifications of the products and details of the intended destinations. 

How do I apply for an authorization? 

An application for a licence must be made electronically on or The information required in the application is to be typed in and submitted online together with all relevant documentaion. Documentation could be copies of product manuals, end-use certificates (EUCs), waybill or bill of lading, import or export permits, invoices, certifications and operating licences, etc. Some documents are compulsory requirements across all applications, specifically the EUC and import/export permit. It is however advisable to submit all documents related to the item and transaction involved. Documents are not required in original during processing, but on issuance of a licence. Only the EUC  is normally requested in original. All documents have to be in English or Maltese. When this is not the case, a certified translation is to be provided together with the document. 

The guidance notes provide a more detail explanation on the application process. 

When should I submit my application? 

You should submit the application for export authorization as early as possible, and preferably before you make any contractual commitment. Processing times tend to be lengthy in view of the assessments and verifications that need to be carried out by the licensing authority in consultation with other entities. Export authorisations are normally valid for eight months.​

Date last updated 09-06-2022