The ninth Plenary meeting of the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies (WA) was held in Vienna, from 10 to 12 December 2003.1
This year, the Participating States carried out a wide-ranging assessment of the functioning of the Wassenaar Arrangement. Important steps were taken to enhance export controls on conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, with special emphasis on strengthening the capabilities of member governments to combat the threat of terrorism. Building on the results of the Plenary, a Ministerial Statement was adopted, emphasizing that continued collaboration between Participating States in the Wassenaar Arrangement would make a significant contribution to global security.
The Plenary approved a number of major initiatives including tightening controls over Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), to prevent acquisition by and diversion of these weapons to terrorists; agreeing to enhance transparency of small arms and light weapons (SALW) transfers; establishing elements for national legislation on arms brokering; and adopting end-use oriented controls encouraging member governments to impose export controls on certain unlisted items when necessary to support United Nations arms embargoes.
Participating States agreed to impose strict controls on the activities of those who engaged in the brokering of conventional arms by introducing and implementing adequate laws and regulations based on agreed "Elements for Effective Legislation on Arms Brokering."
Recognizing the importance of end-use oriented controls, Participating States concluded that they should require governmental authorization for the transfer of non-listed dual-use items to destinations subject to a binding UN Security Council arms embargo or any relevant regional arms embargo, either binding on Participating States or to which a Participating State has voluntarily adhered, when such items are intended for a military end-use.
The Plenary also decided to expand the scope of mandatory reporting of arms transfers by adding a new category of SALW to Appendix 3 of the Initial Elements.2
Additionally, the reporting threshold for transfers of artillery systems was lowered.
Participating States introduced a number of amendments to WA control lists,3
including strengthened controls on certain types of microwave electronic devices, semiconductor lasers and navigation equipment.4
The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies was established in July 1996. Its meetings are generally held in Vienna, where the Arrangement is based. The current Participating States of the WA are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.
The Initial Elements were adopted at the Plenary of 11 to 12 July 1996 and were amended and updated at the Plenary of 10 to 12 December 2003. In addition to the objectives of the WA, the Elements also contain its scope, exchange of information, and five appendices specifying the items subject to specific information exchange, such as dual-use goods and technologies, arms and control lists.
List of Dual-Use Goods & Technologies and the Munitions List.
For more information, see WA web site at http://www.wassenaar.org [accessed at 29 July 2004].