Amendments to German export control law enacted

On 1 March 2013, the Federal Counsel (Bundesrat), the second German parliamentary chamber, approved the amended Foreign Trade and Payments Act (Außenwirtschaftsgesetz, or AWG). The amendment is intended to streamline the act in order to make it more practical and up to date. It also adapts and updates the wording to the EU’s Dual-Use Regulation 428/2009. Companies should carefully review the new penalties and voluntary disclosure process.

Substantial amendments relate to the imposition of penalties. The  new rules provide for a clear distinction between regulatory and criminal offenses. For intentional breaches of certain export control
provisions, company representatives might face criminal sanctions. In contrast, negligent conduct is now generally viewed as a regulatory offense which would only lead to fines. These amendments should be welcomed as they provide for more clarity for companies and managers in grey areas of law, in particular in relation to negligence. However, it should be noted that Germany will step up its punishment regime against willful breaches of export control law…

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