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...Start ...Main practice areas ...International Trade law
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International Trade Law, Import/ Export- horak Attorneys at Law

International Trade Law is involved in the trade of goods, services, payments and other commercial dealings, nationally and worldwide and it is to consider that gold between national territory is almost free. However, it is subject to certain restrictions issues from the European law, from the Foreign Trade Law (AWG) and the Foreign Trade Regulation (AWV).

The European and Foreign Trade Legislation include the following aspects of International Trade Law:

Import of Goods

Import restrictions come from the European Communities legislations. They are complemented by Chapter 3 of the AWV Restrictions and General Procedural Provisions for Imports. The foreign trade law provided an overview on goods, and therefore import restrictions, specific procedural rules or reporting requirements are to be observed; The import list, previously an annex to the foreign trade law, was repealed by the Law for the Modernization of Foreign Trade Law on the 1st September 2013.

The import list, unlike the export list, did not provide original national list positions, instead consisted only of permits requirements and other restrictions from EU regulations as well as procedural rules from other international guidelines (ECM notifications). These European restrictions, as well as the customs tariffs, can be found in the relevant EU regulations.

Export of items

The export list, an annex to the foreign trade regulation, contains the products subject to export authorizations. The Export List (AL) was also revised in the amendment of the AWV. It only lists embargo (Part I, Section A of the AL) and national list positions of dual-use goods (Part I, Section B of the AL). It is EU's competence to regulate foreign trades.

Dual-Use items

A restrictive export control policy has also been applied on dual-use items; those are items that can be used both civilly and militarily, such as, for example, tooling machines.

It is aimed at the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and it is made to the contribution of accumulation of conventional armaments in crises countries. Exports in countries subjected to authorization, in particular embargo countries and countries with proliferation programs, are therefore very critically examined and are decided by the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control only after a coordination with the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Federal Foreign Office. Decisive are external, security and human rights deliberations.

The EU Dual-Use Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 of the 5th of May 2009) is the legal basis for the control of the export, transfer, mediation and transit of dual-use items (PDF: 4 , 43 MB). This is supplemented by the national regulations of the Foreign Trade and Foreign Trade Regulations.

In a clearing office set up at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the ministries and authorities involved in the processing of export license applications for dual-use goods regularly holds public consultation to discuss and resolve every issue as quickly as possible, to avoid lengthy written procedures. Proven formats will also be introduced from the export control procedures for armaments and other equipment in need of export approval in the dual-use goods sector.

Export controls and surveillance technology

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy strictly controls the export of surveillance technology.

The EU is responsible for binding rules for the export of dual-use goods and also for the regarding monitoring technology. The latest international decisions on new controls (for mobile´s technology, satellite and internet monitoring) are valid from 2014 in the EU. 

The Federal Government wants a uniform and effective way to handle this new control rules in the EU. When the new control regulations will be applied at a European union level, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy will stop the export of this surveillance technology into countries with a difficult human rights situation, where the surveillance technology even menace those essential rights.


Embargoes are also part of the regulatory matter of the Foreign Trade Act. These are restrictions on foreign trade, which are ordered for foreign or security policy reasons. These are usually the implementation of international economic and financial initiatives (for example UN Security Council resolutions or European Union decisions), such as individual countries or persons.

The European Union is primarily responsible for the adoption of the corresponding legal regulations. Weapons´ embargoes are nationally implemented through acts of the Member States. Nonetheless, national procedural law essentially regulates procedural questions, regulations on criminality and administrative offenses.

The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control administratively implements embargoes as far as they relate to goods, technical assistance and economic resources. The Deutsche Bundesbank is responsible for the administrative implementation of funds, financial resources and financial assistance.

For more information regarding the EU´s sanction measures, please visit the European Union Website. The internet site contains an electronic database („Consolidated list of persons, groups and entities subject to EU financial sanctions") in which sanctioned persons, organizations and institutions are listed.

Investment review

Germany has an open national economy; foreign investments are possible and welcome in all areas.

To avoid risks of security hazards, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) can, however, examine the acquisition of domestic companies from foreign buyers, on a case-by case basis.

In order to examine whether the actual acquisition endangered the public order or the security or the essential interests of the Federal Republic of Germany, so-called cross-sectoral or sector-specific investment verifications will be conducted.


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© German lawyer Michael Horak 2002-2018

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