UK suspends new licensing of military exports to Saudi Arabia

Out-Law News | 22 Jul 2019 | 3:51 pm | 1 min. read

The registration of new licenses concerning military exports to Saudi Arabia has been suspended by the UK government.

The move, confirmed by the Department for International Trade's Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU), comes after the Court of Appeal ruled last month that UK sales of military equipment to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. The government has lodged an appeal against that ruling, which came after campaigners raised concern that equipment exported from the UK was being used in the ongoing civil war in Yemen.

Licenses granted prior to the Court of Appeal's ruling on 20 June are not immediately impacted by the judgment, but the ECJU has announced that it has stopped new registrations for export licenses in six areas.

The open general export licences affected are PCBs and components for military goods; export after repair/replacement under warranty (military goods); exports for transfers in support of UK Government defence contracts; software and source code for military goods; technology for military goods; military goods: collaborative Project Typhoon.

"The ECJU has made it clear that exporters that registered for these OGELs before 20 June 2019 may continue to use them to export to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, subject to the terms and conditions of the licences," export control specialist Stacy Keen of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said. "Six new versions of these open licenses have now been published to allow for new registrations. These new versions do not permit exports to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners."