Dual-use goods, what are they?

Most industrialized countries have established export control policies for dual-use goods and technologies to combat the availability of means of mass destruction and the proliferation of conventional weapons. These measures allow them to remain responsive to international requirements for the dissemination of products and services that may have both civilian and military uses.

The countries of the European Union have created a Community regulation (2021/821) for the control of exports of dual-use goods, in order to adhere to international commitments on trade agreements. It aims in particular to respect embargoes and to protect human rights.

Dual-use goods include tangible products (machines, tools, equipment, etc.) or intangible products (technologies, services) that can be used for both civilian and military purposes and can contribute to the development and/or dissemination of weapons of mass destruction. It can be any type of good, from drones to software or photographs. To identify a dual-use item, it is useful to refer to Annex I of Regulation (EU) 2021/821 which establishes the list of controlled items.

The export of BDUs is therefore regulated by legislation. The Dual-Use Goods Department is responsible for controlling applications for and the issuing of export authorizations.

Within the European Union, there are 10 categories of goods considered sensitive or strategic:

  • Category 0: Nuclear materials, facilities and equipment
  • Category 1: Materials, chemicals
  • Category 2: Material processing (ball bearings, tooling machines, furnaces)
  • Category 3: Electronics (electronic components, integrated circuits)
  • Category 4: Digital or hybrid computers
  • Category 5: Telecommunications and information security
  • Category 6: Sensors and lasers
  • Category 7: Navigation and aeroelectronics (navigation systems)
  • Category 8: Marine (vehicles, propellers)
  • Category 9: Aerospace and Propulsion