A Government View
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Government Export Controls
Export control rules are put into practice to prevent certain technologies and knowledge from reaching certain end-users. In this context, an end-user could be a person but it could also be an organisation, a government or another entity. The restricted technology and knowledge primarily involve components necessary to design, produce, use or test nuclear, biological and chemical weapons – i.e., Weapons for Mass Destruction (WMD). The activity accomplished to prevent such technology from reaching certain end-users is referred to as non-proliferation.
In producing effective rules, the government rule-makers engage with a number of organisations worldwide including but not limited to the Australia Group (AG), the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
The Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) maintains lists of controlled items (i.e., control lists) that are used by virtually all national government and international export control systems. The Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) rules are separated into two main categories: 1) Dual-use commodities; and 2) Military commodities.
The list of controlled dual-use commodities embraces commercial and civil components that may (or may not) be used in relation to Weapons for Mass destruction (WMD) in addition to a number of sensitive and very sensitive items.
The list of military commodities (i.e., the Munitions List) embraces components, products and systems produced for a military purpose. Some rules extend the military export control rules to also include components, products and systems used by military or security end-users even though the components, products and systems may be completely commercial or civil in design.
In addition to the Dual-use and Munitions Lists, individual countries are allowed to add specific national rules. Such national rules may involve restrictions for certain additional components, restrictions imposed on certain end-users or restrictions imposed for certain end-uses.
Further, in particular the US government, has produced lists with names of persons, companies, organisations, and entities that are restricted or completely blocked. While this may seem irrelevant outside the US, it needs to be emphasised that some US export control rules are extraterritorial and may therefore apply even though you are not an American citizen and you are living outside of the US.
Last but not least, the export control authorities may impose immediate restrictions on products that are not usually controlled or on end-users that may not be listed as embargoed. These rules are sometimes referred to as the Catch-All rules. Exporters are also responsible for not exporting to end-users acting suspiciously.
Do you know where to find all the rules? Have you read all the relevant rules? Do you understand them? Could it be that your interpretation of the rules is wrong?
Click here to read the Commercial View on export controls.
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