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Wassenaar Arrangement Plenary Chair Statement 2018

UK statement as 2018 Plenary Chair for the Wassenaar Arrangement on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.

Wassenaar Arrangement Plenary Meeting, 5-6 December 2018

Wassenaar Arrangement Plenary Meeting, 5-6 December 2018


The Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) is an arms export control regime with 42 Participating States (PS). It contributes to regional and international security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.

The UK had the honour of taking on the Plenary Chair role for 2018, culminating in the Plenary meeting on 5-6 December. One of the duties of the Plenary Chair is to negotiate a consensus Public Statement as a record of the year’s work and discussions of the WA. Unfortunately, this year, as in the previous four, it was not possible to reach consensus on the statement. Therefore, in its place, and consistent with the WA’s commitment to transparency, we are issuing a Chair’s Statement.

Statement issued by the Plenary Chair on the ‘2018 Outcomes of the Wassenaar Arrangement on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies’

In 2018, the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) continued its efforts to contribute to international and regional security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in the transfer of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilising accumulations. The twenty-fourth WA Plenary meeting, chaired by Ambassador Leigh Turner of the United Kingdom, was held in Vienna on 5-6 December 2018.

Throughout 2018 WA Participating States worked together to ensure the detection and denial of undesirable exports and to update and improve the WA Control Lists’ scope and clarity for licensing authorities and exporters. International and regional security developments, technological change and market trends continued to inform the work of the WA. However,Participating States recognised that further efforts are needed to respond rapidly and coherently to new challenges facing the Arrangement. The WA continued its active outreach programme to enhance understanding of and encourage voluntary adherence to its standards by non-member countries.

In 2018 WA Participating States:

  • maintained their shared commitment to robust export controls on a global basis as an important tool for ensuring international peace and stability and confirmed the continued importance of adhering to the WA’s founding principles in this context

  • continued to exchange information on transfers of arms and dual-use goods and technologies, both licit and illicit,and to assess the risks associated with potentially destabilising arms flows to specific geographic regions of concern, including areas of conflict

  • further underscored the important role played by strong export controls and close cooperation to prevent arms diversion and the acquisition of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies by terrorists, as an integral part of the global fight against terrorism

  • gave further particular attention to proliferation risks related to Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)

  • continued its work on export control lists, in particular:

    1. adopted new export controls in a number of areas, such as quantum-resistant cryptography algorithms, air-launch platforms for space-launch vehicles, electromagnetic pulse (EMP)-resistant software,and explosives

    2. further clarified existing controls regarding cryptographic activation, underwater sensors, pre-1946 aircraft and engines, non-magnetic diesel engines, water tunnels, naval nuclear equipment,and production items for integrated circuit; and

    3. relaxed some controls, such as for industrial Internet-of–Things, high-performance continuous-wave lasers, and infrared cameras, where performance thresholds were updated taking into account the fast evolution of the civil market

  • continued a comprehensive and systematic review of the WA Control Lists to ensure their ongoing relevance

  • approved new tools to further promote consistency among their licensing and enforcement authorities in the interpretation and application of the WA Control Lists

  • shared experiences in licensing and enforcement practice and discussed how to strengthen national export control implementation, including exchanging information on intangible transfer of technology (ITT) controls

  • considered a number of proposals for new WA best practices guidelines,updated the “List of Advisory Questions for Industry” (to guide companies in any export situation) originally issued in 2003, and identified other existing guidelines for updating as appropriate in 2019 as part of a regular review cycle

  • gave particular attention to measures to strengthen two-way engagement with industry, universities and the research community, including promotion of internal compliance programmes

  • continued to review their principal outreach activities and agreed to consider further refinements in 2019 in the light of feedback received; and

  • maintained informal technical contacts with the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on control list issues

Given the alignment of purpose between the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the WA, the WA Secretariat will continue to monitor opportunities for the Arrangement, consistent with its purposes, to contribute to international cooperation.

The WA welcomed the contributions of India in 2018, its first year as a Participating State.Confirming that the WA’s existing membership criteria continue to apply, WA Participating States reviewed the progress of a number of current membership applications.

Key WA documents, including the Control Lists and Best Practice Guidelines, are available on the WA website

The 2018 Plenary thanked the Chairs of all the WA bodies for their contributions to the work of the Arrangement in 2018. The next regular WA Plenary meeting will take place in Vienna in December 2019.Greece will assume the Chair of the Plenary from 1 January 2019, Turkey will assume the Chair of the General Working Group, Latvia will provide the Chair of the Experts Group, and the United Kingdom will continue to provide the Chair of the Licensing and Enforcement Officers Meeting.

  • The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies was established on the basis of the Initial Elements adopted in July 1996. Meetings are normally held in Vienna, Austria, where the Arrangement is based. The current Participating States of the Wassenaar Arrangement are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Published 10 December 2018