Another three companies hit with penalties for breach of export control laws

Mon 4 Dec 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Worker in hard hat and high-visibility vest inspecting shipping container

The government has announced another three compound settlements with exporters for breaches of export control laws.

In a Notice to Exporters, published Friday (1 December), HMRC announced that over £77,000 in fines had been imposed in total.

HMRC emphasised that it had put in an “unprecedented” package of sanctions on Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine.

It also reminded businesses that non-compliance with sanctions is a “serious offence”, punishable by large financial penalties or criminal prosecution.

Details

The names of the offending firms have not been disclosed.

HMRC has released the following details about the fines:

  • In August 2023, a company was fined £67,001.31 for attempting to export goods in breach of the Russian sanctions regime
  • In September 2023, a company was fined £1,000 for attempting to illegally export dual goods
  • Also in September 2023, another company was fined £9,088.99 for attempting to export dual use goods in breach of export controls law

Reminder to firms

Sam Hodgkins, trade and customs specialist at the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), said:

“Since leaving the EU, companies need a licence to ship all dual use goods across the UK’s borders. This is still causing confusion for some firms, since no licence was needed to ship goods within the customs union while the UK was in the EU.

“Companies now need to ensure that they know the products that they are dealing with and must remain compliant with all UK regulations.

“Training and upskilling is vital to ensure compliance and avoid large fines, and that is something that the IOE&IT can support both members and non-members with.”

Smaller fines

Roger Arthey, chair of IOE&IT’s Export Control Profession, noted that that one of the fines had been noticeably smaller than those previously announced.

He said:

“It is interesting that HMRC announced a fine of £1,000, in contrast to the recent five- or six- figure amounts.

"This highlights that HMRC will fine companies for relatively minor non-compliance, so firms need to be aware of all the details of their exports.”

In February, HMRC issued fines to four exporters for breaches of export controls regulations amounting to over £3.6m. In December 2022, 12 businesses paid out over half a million pounds’ worth of penalties for similar violations.

IOE&IT support

IOE&IT offers a range of products to help members and non-members understand their legal obligations when it comes to export controls and sanctions law.

In February, IOE&IT also launched a Special Interest Group for professionals working in export controls, with networking opportunities and specialised content.

Another meeting of the group is being planned for the first quarter of 2024. Members can find out more here.