Export control: Finally, at long last, the “Licence Zero”

The new Legislative Decree no. 221 of 15 December 2017. entered into force on 1 February 2018 (the “Decree“).

With the purpose of harmonizing the internal export control procedures and criminal and administrative sanctions, the Decree has repealed the previous Italian legal provisions (Legislative Decree no. 96 of 9 April 2003, Legislative Decree no. 11 of 12 January 2007 and Legislative Decree no. 64 of 14 May 2009) and introduced an unique internal statute (dealing with both export control procedures and related criminal/administrative sanctions) to apply to dual-use” products, to “goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” and to any exports towards Countries and entities/individuals subject to embargo regimes by EU.

In particular, while confirming that exporters may continue to leverage on EU or IT general export authorizations, global export or individual export authorizations, the Decree has introduced the eagerly awaited “Licence Zero” (art. 8, pars. 5 and 6).

The “Licence Zero” instrument aligns Italy to other EU Countries and allows exporters to seek and obtain from the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, under certain conditions and within 180 days, a sort of preventive “green light”, such a formal statement of free movement, whereby the Ministry acknowledges, based on the information provided by the exporter and on those ex officio possibly gathered by the Authority itself, that the products concerned are not subject to any export restrictions.

Although concrete procedural steps to seek and obtain such authorization are not known yet, we expect the applications for Licences Zero to be issued by the Ministry to skyrocket in the months to come and it will be soon apparent whether the instrument is concretely effective or not.

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