Remarks for the Update 2011 Conference on Export Controls and Policy
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
Good morning. On behalf of my colleagues at the U.S. Department of State, I’d like to thank Secretary Locke for hosting this event, and for inviting me to participate in today’s discussion. I appreciate the opportunity to share some thoughts with you that highlight some of the ways we at State are supporting effective export controls around the globe within the context of the Administration’s export control reform.
The primary reason to have export controls is to protect the national security of the U.S. and our friends and allies. These controls also seek to ensure that sensitive goods and technologies will not be diverted to terrorists, programs for the development of weapons of mass destruction, or WMD, and their means of delivery, or to countries of concern. Through these controls we also seek to ensure that transfers do not contribute to regional instability. Export control reform will not change these priorities; it will rather enhance our ability to oversee trade in the most sensitive commodities as we adjust to the increasingly globalized 21st century world.
One of the basic tenets of the Obama Administration’s export control review is a pledge to continue to honor our multilateral regime commitments. Export controls are national in nature, but need multilateral standards in order to be fully effective. As the President indicated last year, this initiative, with its goal of adding clarity and consistency to export control policy, endorses our international commitments within the multilateral nonproliferation regimes to control the export of sensitive commodities and technology responsibly. Our objective within the State Department is to go even further – to help strengthen not only U.S. controls, but those of other countries and multilateral controls as well so bad actors will not benefit by going elsewhere for that which the U.S. denies them.
When we review U.S. government efforts at improving export controls in other countries, we must start with the Export Control and related Border Security Program, or EXBS, program. It is active in more than 60 countries and helps our partners build the capacity to control trade in strategic goods. EXBS tailors its training and assistance to meet specific country needs, including support for trade control legislation, licensing, government-industry outreach, and law enforcement techniques. The beneficiaries of this training reach across all branches of government and may include parliamentarians, senior government officials, the judiciary, and front-line licensing and enforcement personnel.
EXBS continues to be a valuable tool in pursuing U.S. nonproliferation objectives. This type of engagement and cooperation provides us with obvious security benefits while at the same time serving to level the playing field, so that international competitors are held to the same standards of controls as U.S. business. As countries develop and seek to import high-tech goods, EXBS engagement to improve controls also helps to give U.S. and other supplier countries’ licensing authorities confidence that controlled items will not be diverted or re-exported for unauthorized uses. This, combined with capacity-building efforts with major transshipment hubs, contributes to global supply chain security.
One specific area I’d like to talk about in greater detail is our work with the key multilateral export control and nonproliferation regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Wassenaar Arrangement. This work is not new. It is a continual progression, and every year we update and refine the nonproliferation regimes, their guidelines and their control lists.
By way of example, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, or NSG, held its plenary meeting from June 23 to 25 in the Netherlands and discussed a broad range of issues. The NSG agreed, among other things, to strengthen its guidelines on the transfer of sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technologies and continued its fundamental review of the trigger and dual use lists in order to keep its lists up to date with technological developments.
The Missile Technology Control Regime, or MTCR, held its annual plenary meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina from April 11 to 15 of this year. At the Plenary, partners reaffirmed the importance of the MTCR in addressing the challenges posed by WMD and missile proliferation (particularly in Iran and North Korea), and agreed to redouble their efforts to encourage and assist non-members who support the goals of the MTCR to contribute to missile nonproliferation. The MTCR also noted the rapid evolution in relevant technologies and the need to address these developments. In this context, they agreed to add controls on production facilities for MTCR Category II systems.
On the Chemical and Biological Weapon, or CBW front, the Australia Group continues to seek to prevent any would-be proliferators from obtaining materials needed to initiate, develop or advance CBW programs.
On June 6 to 11, 2011 the Australia Group, or AG, held its annual plenary meeting in Paris, adopted a number of changes to its chemical and biological control lists, examined several new and emerging technologies, and began a comprehensive review of its control lists. AG Partners shared information on CBW programs of concern including in Syria and agreed on a new manual for dealing with intangible transfers of technology.
The Wassenaar Arrangement plenary meeting was held in Vienna on 9 and 10 December 2010. The Arrangement keeps pace with advances in technology, market trends and international security developments involving the spread of military and dual-use goods and technologies. The Plenary agreed to a substantial number of amendments to the control lists, including many technically complex and challenging areas such as advanced underwater surveying equipment and advanced electronics.
Additionally, the Wassenaar Arrangement is now in the middle of an Assessment Year. During this time Participating States are conducting an in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of the regime. As part of the assessment process, the U.S. is co-chairing a Task Force that is seeking to improve the Wassenaar List review process. This task is aligned with the U.S. Export Control Reform effort one of the goals of which is to create" a more systematic review process that will streamline the control list.
Participating states in each of these consensus-based groups have voluntarily agreed to observe coordinated export control guidelines and control lists. The guidelines and control lists increasingly are observed by non-member adherent countries; some of the regime lists also feature in UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) on Iran and North Korea. They are also implicitly endorsed by UNSCR 1540, which requires all UN Member States to have nonproliferation export controls consistent with international standards to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery and to prevent their acquisition by terrorist groups or other non-state actors. As a founding member and strong supporter of these regimes, the United States welcomes expanding acceptance of their multilateral export control standards.
All four regimes continue efforts to expand their outreach and dialogue with non-participating states. These efforts further the regimes’ nonproliferation objectives through technical interactions with unilateral adherents as well as pursuing greater international acceptance of the guidelines and control lists among the broader international community. At the same time, there has been strong interest by some countries to become part of the regimes. The most public, but not the only, example of this has been India. In November of 2010, during the President’s visit to New Delhi, a Joint Statement by the U.S. and India announced our support for India’s membership in the four nonproliferation regimes in a phased manner as it takes steps to adopt the regimes’ export control requirements.
I also just came back from New York City where we participated in the Preparatory Committee which is setting the stage for the negotiations starting next year for the Arms Trade Treaty or ATT. The ATT goals are certainly laudable: to create binding international regulations on the export, import, and international transfer of conventional arms, to prevent arms transfers to parties under UN arms embargoes, and to prevent the diversion of arms into the illicit market. ATT negotiations will begin in earnest next year and they promise to be complex. Nevertheless, the U.S. is committed to negotiations that produce an effective outcome which includes widespread acceptance (including the world’s major arms exporters), incorporates the highest international standards possible, and is consistent with U.S. laws and practices.
As I noted, the U.N. Security Council has adopted a number of resolutions that extend the reach of these multilateral controls. Renewal of the mandate of the UNSCR 1540 committee for a period of ten years was a critical diplomatic achievement. In extending this mandate, the U.N. Security Council requested that the Committee identify effective practices for implementing UNSCR 1540, and encouraged the Committee to draw on relevant expertise, including from the private sector. By doing so, the Security Council recognized industry’s role in helping develop effective measures to effectively control WMD-related materials and technologies.
Toward this end, a 1540 event for industry, hosted by Germany, will take place either later this year or early next year. By drawing on this type of expertise, we believe that we can move forward with developing practical measures that address the objectives of 1540.
We are also preparing for the Biological Weapons Convention Review, or BWC RevCon, to be held in Geneva this December. During this five-year review, the 164 States Parties to the BWC will examine the direction of their work and recommend future steps. The USG intends to work at the RevCon and beyond toward a greater emphasis on capacity building and the interface of health and security, efforts toward preventing bioterrorism and urging countries to uphold their BWC obligations.
Under the BWC umbrella, the national security, health, law enforcement and, scientific communities have come together, along with international and non-governmental organizations and private industry to address real-world concerns. Work has focused on assistance with capacity building for disease surveillance to counter natural, accidental or intentional outbreaks, laboratory safety and security, national implementation, to include penal measures, codes of conduct for responsible uses of the life sciences and a greater focus on science and technology developments that might be relevant to the BWC. Your industry counterparts have been involved in this work and we invite you to engage with us on your views about issues that could use the international attention the BWC forum can provide.
I would like to close by reiterating that the regimes and treaties I’ve discussed this morning have not remained stagnant. Every year changes to the control lists and guidelines based on ever-changing and advancing technology and proliferation trends are debated, negotiated, and agreed upon. These changes in the regime control lists, in particular, lead to export control regulations being updated not only in the United States, but around the world as well. Thus, multilateral export controls are continually improving, so that safety and national security are balanced with economic considerations.
Similarly, the U.S. government seeks to evolve its export control system to be more effective in a dynamic world. The U.S. export control reform effort will continue to be consistent with our multilateral commitments and international legal obligations. It is ultimately aimed at helping the United States implement our export controls in a more effective and efficient manner and to address 21st century threats more effectively, while minimizing any harmful effects on legitimate commercial trade. We recognize the importance of supporting legitimate trade and economic growth, especially in the developing world while maintaining confidence that U.S. technology will not end up where it will threaten U.S. security. Thank you.
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