The independent resource on global security

12. Controls on security-related international transfers


I. Introduction

II. United Nations Security Council resolutions on transfers of proliferation-sensitive items

III. Developments in multilateral export control regimes

IV. Supply-side and cooperative measures in the European Union

V. Conclusions

Table 12.1. Participation in multilateral weapon and technology transfer control regimes, as of 1 January 2010


Read the full chapter [PDF]


The multiplicity of actors involved in proliferation-sensitive transactions and their inherent complexity require adjustments not just of the concepts and language, but also of related laws as well as licensing and enforcement mechanisms. The focus of non-proliferation efforts has shifted from the physical movement of goods to analysis of which elements of a transaction are relevant to, and should be subject to, controls. These developments not only create challenges, but also offer new opportunities for international cooperation.


The main forums where states meet to discuss how to maintain effective export controls on items that may be used in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons as well as missile delivery systems for them are the Australia Group (AG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-use Goods and Technologies (WA). The intangible transfer of technology (ITT), enforcement and penalties, best and proven practices for effective export controls, and engagement with non-participating states are being discussed across the different regimes. In recent years, the European Union (EU) has also increased its cooperation with non-EU countries at working level through technical assistance programmes.


In 2009 the EU adopted an updated and strengthened version of the 2000 Dual-use Regulation. The revised document introduces EU-wide powers to control transit and brokering for dual-use items that may be intended for use in connection with weapons of mass destruction or their delivery systems. During 2009, a new directive to facilitate the movement of defence goods inside the EU also entered into force.



Dr Sibylle Bauer (Germany) is Head of SIPRI's Export Control Project and Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme.


Ivana Mićić (Belgium) is a Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme with expertise in export control and on South Eastern Europe.

Dr Sibylle Bauer and Ivana Mićić