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France: Law on Import and Export of War Material

(July 6, 2011) France's Law 2011-702 of June 22, 2011, on Controlling Import and Export of War Materials and Similar Equipment, Simplifying Transfers of Defense-Related Products Within the European Union, and Defense and Security Markets, was published in the French official gazette of June 23, 2011 (Loi n° 2011-702 du 22 juin 2011 relative au contrôle des importations et des exportations de matériels de guerre et de matériels assimilés, à la simplification des transferts des produits liés à la défense dans l'Union européenne et aux marchés de défense et de sécurité, LEGIFRANCE (last visited June 30, 2011).)

The Law transposes two EU Directives into French law. (Directive 2009/43/EC of the European Parliament and the Council, May 6, 2009, Simplifying Terms and Conditions of Transfers of Defense-Related Products Within the Community, 2009 OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION [O.J.] (L146) 1, & Directive 2009/81/EC of the European Parliament and the Council, July 13, 2009, on the Coordination of Procedures for the Award of Certain Work Contracts, Supply Contracts, and Service Contracts by Contracting Authorities or Entities in the Fields of Defense and Security, 2009 O.J. (L216) 76, both Europa website (both last visited June 30, 2011).)

Transfers of defense-related products within the European Community are subject to prior authorization through three types of licenses: general, global, or individual. General licenses authorize transfers of defense-related products to recipients located in another EU Member State and usually concern material that is less sensitive. Global licenses authorize transfers to recipients located in one or more other Member State, while individual licenses are limited to one transfer and are necessary for the protection of the security of the Member State issuing it. Individual licenses are usually for very sensitive material. (Law 2011-702, art. 1.)

Finally, the competent authority may at any time, under conditions to be set forth by a decree, suspend, amend, rescind, or withdraw the authorization it issued, for reasons of compliance with international commitments signed by France, to protect essential security interests, for public order or public security, or for non-compliance with the conditions specified in the authorization. (Id. art. 2.)