The restrictions on trading in weapons and other military equipment are extensive.
They have been further extended as international treaty obligations have changed. Political attention has been drawn to the need to strengthen controls for national security or international reputation.
Restrictions are intended to prevent the United Kingdom from being implicated in torture, the suppression of minorities and other human rights abuses. It also aims to fight the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, warfare and terrorism.
Unlicensed arms dealing is a criminal offence. Licences are required not just for imports and exports of relevant goods from the UK, but also trades:
Licences are required to trade in all goods on the military list.
The list does not just contain weapons but many dual use items. These include (but are not limited to):
Trade which is in violation of current sanctions against jurisdictions or individuals is also a criminal offence.
Unlicensed arms dealing and trade in violation of sanction requirements results in the acquisition of criminal proceeds. For this reason, it comes within the anti-money laundering regime.