International Export Control Regimes
The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
The Wassenaar Arrangement has been established in order to contribute to regional and international security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilising accumulations. Participating States aim, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals and are not diverted to support such capabilities.
The decision to transfer or to deny transfer of any item is the sole responsibility of each Participating State. All measures with respect to the Arrangement are taken in accordance with national legislation and policies and are implemented on the basis of national discretion. Therefore, for specifics on Export Controls in Participating States contact the National Authorities in that country.
Representatives of Participating States meet regularly in Vienna where the Wassenaar Arrangement's Secretariat is located.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
NSG is a group of nuclear supplier countries which seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear related exports. The NSG Guidelines are implemented by each Participating Government in accordance with its national laws and practices. Decisions on export applications are taken at the national level in accordance with national export licensing requirements.
The Australia Group (AG)
The Australia Group is an informal arrangement which aims to allow exporting or transshipping countries to minimise the risk of assisting chemical and biological weapon (CBW) proliferation. The Group meets annually to discuss ways of increasing the effectiveness of participating countries’ national export licensing measures to prevent would-be proliferators from obtaining materials for CBW programs.
Participants of the Australia Group do not undertake any legally binding obligations: the effectiveness of their cooperation depends exclusively on shared commitment to CBW non-proliferation goals and the strength of their respective national measures. Key considerations in the formulation of participants’ export licensing measures are:
- they should be effective in impeding the production of chemical and biological weapons;
- they should be practical, and reasonably easy to implement, and
- they should not hinder the normal trade of materials and equipment used for legitimate purposes.
All states participating in the Australia Group are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and strongly support efforts under those Conventions to rid the world of CBW.
The Missile Technology Control Regime
The Missile Technology Control Regime is an informal and voluntary association of countries which share the goals of non-proliferation of unmanned delivery systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, and which seek to coordinate national export licensing efforts aimed at preventing their proliferation. The MTCR was originally established in 1987 by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States. Since that time, the number of MTCR partners increased to a total of thirty-four countries, all of which have equal standing within the Regime.
The MTCR was initiated partly in response to the increasing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), i.e., nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The risk of proliferation of WMD is well recognized as a threat to international peace and security, including by the UN Security Council in its Summit Meeting Declaration of January 31, 1992. While concern was traditionally focused on state proliferators, after the tragic events of 11 September 2001, it became evident that more has to be done to decrease also the risk of WMD delivery systems in the hands of terrorist groups and individuals. One possibility to tackle this threat is to monitor the transfer of missile equipment, material, and related technologies usable for systems capable of delivering WMD.
The MTCR is based on adherence to common export policy guidelines (the MTCR Guidelines) applied to an integral common list of controlled items (the MTCR Equipment, Software and Technology Annex). All MTCR decisions are taken by consensus, and MTCR partners regularly exchange information about relevant national export licensing issues.
National export licensing measures on these technologies hinder the possibilities to acquire and produce unmanned means of WMD delivery significantly difficult. As a result, many countries, including all MTCR partners, have chosen voluntarily to introduce export licensing measures on rocket and other unmanned air vehicle delivery systems or related equipment, material and technology.
Source: WA, NSG, AG, MTCR