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Ref.: TRA CR 1015/35
TRA CR 1015/33/1
14 January 2022

Strategic Trade Controls Circular No. 2/2022

Approval-in-Principle Arrangement for
Bulk Users of Strategic Commodities Licensing Service (AIP)



                   This circular informs and reminds traders of the application requirements and the subsequent usage of the Approval-in-Principle Arrangement for Bulk Users of Strategic Commodities Licensing Service ("AIP"). Strategic Trade Controls Circular No. 8/2020 on the same subject are hereby superseded.

2.       AIP is a trade facilitation measure for companies which frequently import / export strategic commodities of relatively less sensitivity.

What is AIP and how does it work?

3.     Under AIP, the processing of strategic commodities licence applications and the issuance of licences are streamlined and expedited.

(A) Eligible types of strategic commodities
4.    Subject to the review by Trade and Industry Department (“TID”) on individual case and product, strategic commodities classified under Category 5 (Part 2) – information security and some classified under Category 3 – electronics are eligible for AIP.

(B) Eligible companies

5.    To be eligible for AIP, the company must:

(a) register with TID and have an E-Account under the Strategic Commodities Control System Website ("SC Website") (for details, please refer to “Open an E-Account”);

(b) be a frequent applicant of strategic commodities licences, for example, issued with at least 100 licences covering the AIP-eligible strategic commodities in the past 12-month period; and

(c) have a good compliance record as demonstrated by, for example -
     (i) having no conviction record involving strategic commodities in the past 24-month period; and

     (ii) receiving no more than ten warning letters involving strategic commodities issued by TID on average per year in the past 24-month period.

(C) Application Procedures

6.    The application procedures for AIP generally include the following:

(a) Company to contact TID to indicate interest.

(b) TID to conduct a preliminary assessment and if the company’s eligibility is confirmed, send an AIP application form to the company.

(c) The applicant to complete and submit to TID the application form and the relevant supporting documents about the detailed information on the import and export shipments to be covered by AIP which includes, for example, information on the products (i.e., brands and model numbers), the foreign exporting countries/places, destinations, foreign exporters, consignees, end-users, etc.

(d) TID to conduct a comprehensive examination and review on the applicant, products, entities, countries/places under application.

(e) TID to inform the applicant of the result and decision, i.e., whether the AIP application is to be approved and if it is, the to-be-approved products, entities and countries/places which may not necessarily be the same as those under application.

(f) The applicant to complete and submit to TID the undertaking and declaration at Appendix A.

(g) TID to issue an Approval-in-Principle letter (“AIP letter”) to the applicant which will set out: (i) the approved products, entities and countries/places; and (ii) the validity period (normally one year) of the subject AIP.

(D) Making and submitting licence applications under AIP

7.             Same as all strategic commodities licence applications, making and submitting a licence application within the scope as set out on an AIP letter (“AIP’s licence application”) must also be done on a pre-shipment basis.  Applicants can do it electronically and efficiently via their E-Accounts under SC website.

(E) Process and Issuance of Licences under AIP

8.             Upon receipt, an AIP’s licence application is processed by TID’s system automatically and will be approved within the same day, regardless of it is a working or non-working day, if no complication is involved.

9.             After an AIP’s licence application is approved, a notification message and a softcopy of the licence (“AIP’s licence”) will be sent to the applicant electronically.  AIP’s licences can be printed out by the applicants themselves.  It is therefore not necessary for applicants to collect the approved AIP’s licences at TID.

10.   Specimens of AIP’s licences are at Appendices B and C.  Compared to other strategic commodities licences, the specific features of AIP’s licences include1:

(a) no application receipt number is printed;

(b) an Approval-in-Principle agreement number is at the lower left-hand corner on all pages;

(c) the background is in light grey colour with concealed watermark showing "Trade and Industry Department" in Italics; and

(d) a licence access number and a QR code are at the upper left-hand corner and at the lower right-hand corner.

11.    The licence access number and the QR code at paragraph 10(d) above are for facilitating verification of AIP’s licences, where necessary.  By entering the licence number and the licence access number at the dedicated webpage on SC Website or scanning the QR code directly, the departmental copy of the relevant AIP’s licence will be retrieved and shown.  If any inconsistency or altered contents are found on the AIP’s licence, traders should notify TID as soon as possible.

Important Note

12.    Please note that an AIP letter is NOT equivalent to a licence required under the Import and Export Ordinance (Cap 60) and Import and Export (Strategic Commodities) Regulations (Cap 60G).  It only facilitates and expedites the application process of import / export licences for strategic commodities.
13.    Besides, TID may at any time suspend, revoke and cancel any AIP as well as revise the approved products, entities, countries/places and validity period of any AIP if circumstances warrant.  TID also reserves the right to reject or refuse to renew any AIP application.



14.    Companies interested in AIP are welcome to contact our Strategic Trade Controls Branch at 2398 5659 or 3403 6056.

Strategic Trade Controls Branch
Trade and Industry Department

1 Each AIP licence issued on or before 13 January 2022 bears a visible digital signature signed by an electronic certificate of Trade and Industry Department at the bottom of the first page.  This feature would no longer exist in AIP licences issued thereafter.

Last Revision Date : 26 February 2024