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SIPRI briefs Australia Group on proliferation risks of additive manufacturing

SIPRI briefs Australia Group on proliferation risks of additive manufacturing
Three-dimensional bioprinter developed by the Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

On 7 June, Kolja Brockmann, Researcher in the SIPRI Dual-use and Arms Trade Control Programme, briefed the annual plenary meeting of the Australia Group—a major multilateral export control regime made up of 42 states and the European Union—on the impact of additive manufacturing on biological weapons proliferation and export controls.

Brockmann was one of a few non-government experts invited to present on current developments in the area of chemical and biological weapons, related technologies and proliferation activities. His briefing highlighted developments in a technology of key importance: additive manufacturing (also referred to as 3D printing).

Drawing on the findings of a recent SIPRI report that he co-authored, ‘Bio Plus X: Arms Control and the Convergence of Biology and Emerging Technologies’, Brockmann provided an assessment of the proliferation risks that different techniques and applications of additive manufacturing currently pose with regard to biological weapons. He also discussed the export control challenges that additive manufacturing presents for the export control regimes, national export control authorities and for research institutes and industry stakeholders. The briefing included recommendations for next steps to be taken by the Australia Group.


About the Australia Group

The Australia Group is one of four major multilateral export control regimes. It is an informal group of 42 states and the European Union that meets annually to exchange views and best practices on strategic trade controls, and maintains harmonized control lists in order to ensure that dual-use material, technology and equipment are not used to support chemical and biological warfare activities or programmes.