Representatives from 34 countries and administrative regions, as well as experts from industry and nongovernmental organizations, came together the last three days to discuss how countries can reduce the threat of global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) through cooperation to strengthen strategic trade controls. The International Export Control Cooperation and Outreach Dialogue, held at the European Commission Headquarters, was jointly organised by the European Union’s (EU) Export Control in Dual Use Goods programme and the U.S. Department of State's Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program. Attendees included licencing and customs agencies, export control authorities, NGOs and exporters from across the world.
During the dialogue, experts shared best practices and expertise in managing trade in strategic goods. The discussions focused on meeting emerging challenges in preventing unauthorized transfer of expertise, materials, and technology that contribute to the development of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. Dialogue participants discussed topics such as promoting effective controls over free trade zones, regulating new forms of information technology transfers, and government outreach to industries to ensure responsible compliance with export control laws and regulations.
The Dialogue highlighted the continuing cooperation between the European Union and the United States in countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Through the EU Outreach programme on dual use items and the EXBS Program, the EU and the United States are assisting more than sixty countries around the world to bring their national strategic trade management systems in line with international standards.
In 2003, the European Union (EU) adopted the European Security Strategy, identifying the proliferation of weapons of mass destructions (WMD) as a key threat to European security. One area of cooperation under Priority 1 of the Instrument for Stability (IfS) refers to capacity building to ensure effective export control of dual-use goods by providing export control and related border control assistance to third countries. The EU and the United States are running multi-year, long-term comprehensive strategic trade control cooperation and capacity-building programs reaching many countries around the world.
The EU has an export control strategy on dual use items, set up to provide advice to countries on key areas of export controls (eg enforcement, legal matters, licensing, and raising awareness) and is part of the EU's Instrument for Stability. The European Commission (EC) is operating an important Export Control outreach activity providing support to third countries on the key areas of export controls (legal, licensing, enforcement, awareness, and penalties), implemented by the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA). These actions are financed under the IfS programme. Their implementation is the responsibility of the Commission's Directorate General (DG) DEVCO, while the European External Action Service (EEAS) is responsible for elaborating the strategy and multi-annual programming.
The U.S. Department of State´s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program, within the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, assists partner countries to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and destabilizing accumulations of advanced conventional weapons by developing and strengthening their national systems to manage trade in sensitive goods and secure their borders against unauthorized transfers of such items.