To oppose the abusive procurement of dual-use goods, the states with corresponding goods and technology have united to form an informal international regime to coordinate and widely harmonise national export controls. There are currently four such export control regimes (Switzerland is a member):

  • The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
  • The Australia Group (AG)
  • The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement (WA)

The Nuclear Suppliers Group

The Nuclear Suppliers Group now comprises 48 states that wish to help prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The group was founded in 1974 as response to India’s first nuclear bomb. It appears that such weapon was developed out of nuclear material that was supplied to India for peaceful purposes.

The Australia Group

The Australia Group has existed since 1985 and is an informal union of 41 states and the European Union, all states being States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. They work out proposals how member states could prevent the use and proliferation of chemical and biological weapons without restricting legal trade with such goods. The Australia Group was called into being by the initiative of Australia against the background of chemical weapons deployment by the regime of Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf war between Iran and Iraq. Without the deliberate and unintentional delivery of substances and goods from industrialized countries the weapons of mass destruction programme of the Iraqi regime would not have been possible to the same extent. Correspondingly, the Australia Group has compiled lists of dual use substances and goods, i.e. which can be used for both civilian and military purposes.

The Missile Technology Control Regime

The Missile Technology Control Regime was called into being in 1987 by the G-7 states. The regime currently consists of 34 member states. The objective of the regime is to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles for nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement has existed since May 1996 and now unites 41 member states. It harmonises export controls for conventional weapons, dual-use goods and technologies.

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