Export controls and sanctions

Goods regulated by export controls can be divided into two main categories: goods that only have a military application and dual-use goods. These are goods that have both a civilian and a military application. Goods that can be regarded as dual-use are listed in Annex 1 to EU Regulation 821/2021 (hereinafter: the Dual-Use Regulation). In principle, the export of such goods requires a license.

Export control legislation can apply to physical goods but also to the sale or transfer of intangible assets such as technology and software. Export control regulations may also have an extraterritorial effect; this applies in particular to US export control regulations. Compliance with export control rules therefore has a multi-legal dimension.

What are sanctions?

Sanctions are political trade instruments mainly imposed by the United Nations and the European Union (EU). Sanctions apply to certain countries, groups or persons with whom the trade in both goods and services is prohibited. For example, the EU may impose sanctions to preserve peace and to strengthen international security, promote international cooperation and to safeguard the community values and security of the EU. Restrictive measures such as a weapons embargo or financial sanctions may also be imposed to uphold respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

How can we help?


Product analysis/classification of dual-use goods

Our Customs specialists can provide an analysis of the potential dual-use classification of a product based on the descriptions contained in Annex 1 to the Dual-Use Regulation. Because these descriptions are often very technical, we work together with, for example, a client’s product engineers in order to arrive at a classification. A starting point is often the correlation table published by the European Commission.

If there are doubts about the classification, it is possible to submit a classification request to the Central Import and Export Office (Centrale Dienst in- en uitvoer; CDIU). We can also help with this.

Assistance with license applications

If a product falls under the scope of the Dual-Use Regulation, a license may be needed to export it. We can help you with these license applications.

Internal Compliance Programme

A condition for issuing certain dual-use licenses is that a company has an Internal Compliance Programme (ICP). The ICP contains the internal control measures that monitor compliance with applicable export control legislation and regulations. An ICP is always tailor-made and our Customs specialists have extensive experience with preparing these programmes. 

Export controls & sanctions courses

We organize (inhouse) export controls & sanctions courses for clients in which the legal framework and background are explained and clients are made aware of how to recognize ‘red flags’. 


Our Customs specialists can help you analyze whether certain proposed transactions are permitted under sanction legislation, for example sanctions applying to Russia and Iran. In many cases, we consult with the CDIU/Ministry of Foreign Affairs about this.

International KPMG assistance

For questions of an international nature about export controls and sanctions, for example, regarding (strict) US legislation, we make use of our global KPMG network (active in 147 countries).

Links & Downloads


Need advice?

Senior Manager pulles.erik [at] kpmg.com Amstelveen

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