The independent resource on global security

Western Arms Exports to China

Publisher: SIPRI
ISBN 978-91-85114-87-0
January, 2015

1989 several Western states imposed arms embargoes on China. Nevertheless, China has continued to benefit from the transfer of military-relevant Western goods and technologies in its efforts to modernize its defence forces’ industrial and technological capabilities.

This Policy Paper details the policies of four Western states—France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States—on transfers of military-related technologies to China, including military goods, dual-use items—goods and technologies that have the potential to be used in both civilian and military products—and other non-controlled items that have played a role in the development of China’s military capabilities.

The authors conclude that, while Western transfers of militarily-relevant technology to China will remain limited for the foreseeable future, Western states need to develop more harmonized and transparent approaches to the issue that take relevant developments within China into account.


Dr Mark Bromley is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Dual-Use and Arms Trade Control Programme.
Dr Mathieu Duchâtel was a Senior Researcher in SIPRI’s China and Global Security Project.