International trade regulations in the metals and minerals sector

Export regulations in the metals and minerals sector


Regulations, charges or other restrictions may apply to metals and minerals exports as they leave the UK and when they arrive at their destination country. It is important that you research both sides of the transaction. Mineral oils, for instance, also attract excise duty - see excise duties.

Read more about exporting your goods from the EU to a third country and dispatching your goods within the EU.

First, you need to classify your goods. Use of standardised classification codes makes it easier to check if any restrictions or charges apply. You can use the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom to classify your goods. For more information, see this GOV.UK guide on classifying iron and steel.

For more information on how the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom is important to your export business, read an introduction to the Tariff.


Remember that in general it is much simpler to trade with other EU countries than with countries outside the EU because the goods are in free circulation. The EU is a single market and the UK is in a customs union, so you can trade with other EU countries without restriction (although some local charges and excise duty may still apply).

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) operates the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) scheme. While the scheme is not compulsory, companies that meet the requirements of the scheme will be registered as AEOs and can take advantage of simplified customs procedures that relate to the security and safety of their goods in transit.

Export licensing and certification

An export licence is required in order to export specified goods with military uses, or if you trade in strategically controlled goods between overseas countries. You may require an export licence for goods with a potential military use, such as certain metal fuels and alloys with particular characteristics, such as the ability to withstand very high temperatures.

Find out if you need an export or import licence.

Exporting goods for processing

You may be able to obtain relief from customs duties when you re-import European Community (EC) goods that have previously been exported from the EC for processing. Outward Processing Relief (OPR) enables you to claim relief from customs duty if you can show that the exported goods were used in - or incorporated into - the products being imported. Before you can claim duty relief under OPR, however, you must have the appropriate authorisation. For more information, read notice 235 on OPR.

New legislation controls activities of the transport sector concerning transport of military items. See these GOV.UK guides on transport controls and brokering (trade) of Dual-Use items.