Background of Export Controls

Proliferation

The key points in brief:

  • All relevant industrial nations work together to control critical activities
  • Proliferation includes the spread of weapons of mass destruction and of conventional weapons
  • To effectively combat proliferation all relevant industrial nations work together within a framework of agreements and organizations

Explanations:

Preventing the proliferation of weapons is one most pressing challenges the international community has to face today. In a narrow sense, the term proliferation designates the retransmission and dispersal of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), as well as the purchase of appropriate carrier systems (such as ballistic missiles) and of (dual-use) goods that can be used for assisting in their manufacture as well as for exclusive civilian use. In a broader sense the objectives of proliferation controls also include conventional military equipment.
To effectively combat proliferation the member states of the EU, the United States and indeed all relevant industrial nations have committed to work together within a framework of international agreements and organizations to control critical deliveries, transactions and activities with regard to sensitive countries. Therefore the set of regulations following those agreements is in most countries similar.

An essential characteristic of proliferation of WMD is that it is performed indirectly. Complete weapon systems are usually not procured, but raw materials, components, equipment and technology necessary for producing these weapons.

It is not possible to identify the proliferation relevance of a delivery solely by technical product criteria. One of the reasons for this is that (with few exceptions) the products, processes and equipment required for sensitive activities also have possible civilian applications (dual-use character). Additionally even such goods can have a proliferation relevance that do not have any connection to critical technologies. The relevance for proliferation often results from the knowledge of the actual intended end use or of the end user. To assess the proliferation relevance of a product or technology, supplementary information is always required, for example special knowledge about the end user or the plausibility of the stated end-use.

In addition, numerous country-specific embargoes (economic sanctions) are also or particularly based on proliferation considerations, such as the embargoes against North Korea and Iran.

For several years, high attention as potential users of weapons of mass destruction is also given to terrorist organizations, irrespective of whether with or without the support of a state.

Links:


Dual-Use Controls

The key points in brief:

  • Dual-use goods can be used for both civil and military purposes
  • One distinguishes between listed and unlisted dual-use goods
  • National resp. EU-Dual-Use Controls are based on international frameworks

Explanations:

In order to prevent proliferation effectively, the control of exports, in-country/intra-EU transfers, brokering and transits of dual-use goods is subject to regulations introduced in the EU respectively subject to national regulations in non-EU-countries. These regulations are based on international frameworks. Dual-use goods are items, including software and technology, which can be used for both civil and military purposes, and shall include all goods which can be used for both non-explosive uses and assisting in any way in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Their classification as dual-use good can emerge from their technical properties (“listed” dual-use goods) or their intended use (“unlisted” dual-use goods).

The aim of dual-use controls is to prevent the use of such goods for the development, manufacture or use of atomic, biological or chemical weapons (ABC weapons) or carrier rockets.

For dual-use goods, different approval, reporting and notification requirements apply. A distinction is made between listed and unlisted dual-use goods:

“Listed“ dual-use goods

If goods correspond to certain technical criteria, which are defined in so-called “lists of goods“, they are “listed“ dual-use goods. Associated activities are regulated solely according to the listing of the item (e.g. export resp. in-country/intra-EU transfer is subject to authorization or prohibited).

“Non-listed“ dual-use goods

Activities related to items which are not covered by a “list of goods” can also be regulated. While technical properties are decisive for license requirements for listed goods, their intended end-use is of primary importance for unlisted goods. These controls are also referred to as use-related export control or "catch-all-clauses". For sensitive end-uses further restrictions and reporting requirements apply.

Links:


Country Embargo Regulations

The key points in brief:

  • Embargoes impose restrictions on the import or export of goods, materials, capital, or services
  • Wide range of specific instruments, particularly in the economic sphere
  • Different initiators of sanction decisions: UN, EU or individual states

Explanations:

Under public international law embargoes are defined as unilateral or collective restrictions on the import or export of goods, materials, capital, or services into or from a specific country or group of countries for political or security (in particular proliferation) reasons. They pursue foreign policy objectives (e.g. prevention of military or nuclear rearmament, human rights protection) with economic policy measures.
In the area of country-specific embargoes (economic sanctions, trade embargoes, restrictive measures) the international community of States has developed a wide range of specific instruments, particularly in the economic sphere such as arms embargoes, trade restrictions (import and export bans) financial restrictions or restrictions on movement (visa or travel bans).
In addition to differentiation by instruments of economic measures, a distinction is made according to the initiator of the sanction decision: United Nations Security Council (collective sanctions), States (unilateral sanctions) or regional integration associations such as the EU (community sanctions).

United Nations Security Council (collective sanctions)

The UN Security Council may impose economic sanctions under the conditions of the UN Charter. Since the United Nations is a system of collective security, such sanctions are – for the purpose of delimiting the measures imposed by States and other intergovernmental organizations – called collective economic sanctions. In order to achieve local application, these sanctions must be implemented into local law by the national or supranational organs of sovereign power.

States (unilateral sanctions)

In addition, States can – subject to legal peculiarities in the EU – unilaterally take action against other states and other subjects of international law. If this is the case one speaks of unilateral economic sanctions. This classification is not altered if several states coordinate their unilateral measures (common unilateral economic actions), as long as the sanctions are not imposed on the basis of and according to binding specifications of an integration association (such as the EU).

Regional Integration Associations such as the EU (community sanctions)

Economic sanctions imposed by regional integration associations, in particular by the EU, are qualitatively different from the sum of a number of unilateral decisions: Integration associations regularly have their own rules on the imposition of economic sanctions. They strive for a common approach so that this type of sanctions can be separately categorized as community sanctions.

Armenia

EU

Azerbaijan

EU

Belarus

U.S., EU

Burundi

U.S., EU

Central African Republic

U.S., EU

China, People's Republic of

EU

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

U.S., EU

Côte d'Ivoire

U.S., EU

Crimea region of Ukraine

U.S., EU

Cuba

U.S.

Egypt

EU

Eritrea

EU

Guinea

EU

Guinea Bissau

EU

Iran

U.S., EU

Iraq

U.S., EU

Lebanon

U.S., EU

Liberia

EU

Libya

U.S., EU

Myanmar (Burma)

EU

North Korea

U.S., EU

Russia

U.S., EU

Sierra Leone

EU

Somalia

U.S., EU

South Sudan

U.S., EU

Sudan

U.S., EU

Syria

U.S., EU

Tunisia

EU

Venezuela

U.S.

Yemen

U.S., EU

Zimbabwe

U.S., EU

Key:

EU only = blue
U.S. only = red
EU and U.S. = purple
Status (date): 30th June 2017

Links:


Embargos Against Persons

The key points in brief:

  • So called smart or targeted sanctions particularly contain individualized financial sanctions as well as supply and travel bans
  • These sanctions target individuals deemed responsible for a threat to peace
  • Aim is to enhance the effectiveness and reduce unintended side effects on the civilian population

Explanations:

Since the 1990s, the international community of states has increasingly sought embargoes against persons, including entities and organizations (so-called “smart“ or “targeted“ sanctions). The main categories developed in this respect – which have become relatively standardized – are financial sanctions, in particular by freezing financial assets or economic resources and individualized travel bans.
With their new focus on targeted sanctions, legislators have increasingly sought to use tools with a particular impact on individuals deemed responsible for a threat to peace. The aim of “targeted” sanctions is to increase the effectiveness of economic sanctions, while reducing the negative impact on the civilian population (“smart” sanctions).
If the listing of persons in so-called sanctions lists results from resolutions of the UN Security Council or the Sanctions Committee of the Council, member States are obliged to take implementing action.

Background

“Targeted” sanctions were initially directed against politically responsible officials from the government, but also against warlords and drug barons. With the advent of international terrorism by Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the sanctions regime experienced a profound change. Legislators began to include individuals, companies and associations suspected of supporting international terrorism in a material or ideological way, within the scope of new sanctions regimes. At UN level the UN Sanctions Committee was set up as a subsidiary body of the Security Council. The list drawn up by this Committee is to be transformed into national law by the Member States without having any scope for decision and judgment.

In a broader sense also limiting sanctions to specific sectors of the economy of a target State and not only to specific persons

Measures

Persons, groups, organizations and bodies, which are included in lists, are usually subject to an absolute prohibition on the supply of material and immaterial goods or assets. The supply ban covers all persons, organizations and institutions involved in the delivery, and not just the end user as an organization. It is prohibited to directly or indirectly provide listed persons, entities or organizations with financial assets or economic resources (any assets that may be used for the acquisition of funds, goods or services). They may not been made available in any way or benefited directly or indirectly (so-called supply ban). Also the provision of services and any kind of technical support, the conclusion of contracts or the granting of any other economic advantage is covered by the ban. Thus, e.g. purchase, rent, swapping, transfers and assignments of claims, salary or commission payments are generally precluded. Intentional or negligent violations are usually subject to criminal and administrative fines.

The above-mentioned country embargoes also regularly contain sanctions lists with corresponding prohibitions.

Links: