Export controls are a method of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and uncontrolled flows of other weapons.
In its annual communication to the Riksdag, the Government presented a report (2011/12:114) on Sweden's export control policy. The communication also reports on military equipment exports and describes the cooperation within the EU and other international forums.
Export controls in Sweden
Swedish law in this area supplements EU Council Regulations, for instance through provisions on penalties for violations of the Regulations. This legislation consists of the Act on Control Over Dual-use Products and Over Technical Assistance (2000:164) as well as the associated ordinance (2000:1217).
Sweden is active both in the multilateral export control regimes and at EU level to strengthen export controls as an instrument both for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and against uncontrolled flows of conventional weapons.
At the Government Offices, the MFA's Department for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation is responsible for export controls issues in terms of policy, legislation and international negotiations. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) is responsible for licensing issues regarding exports of nuclear products. The Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (ISP) is responsible for licensing issues regarding exports of other dual-use products and military equipment.
Within the EU export control issues of dual-use goods are handled by the Working Party on Dual-Use Goods (WPDU). In September 2011 the European Parliament adopted WPDU:s proposal from 2008 about new general export licences. These came into effect in January 2012.
To facilitate international cooperation for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, five export control regimes - international cooperation on agreed guidelines for the national export controls - are in place at multilateral level. These regimes are:
- The Zangger Committee (ZC)
- The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
- The Australia Group (AG)
- The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
- The Wassenaar Arrangement (WA)
Some 40 countries are part of each regime. Sweden is a member of all of them. Sweden was Chair Country of the NSG during the period May 2004 - June 2005. The Secretariat of the Wassenaar Arrangement is headed by a Swedish official until 1st of June 2012.
The regimes aim to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missiles through export controls of dual-use products. The Wassenaar Arrangement also aims to avoid destabilising accumulations of conventional weapons. Together, the multilateral regimes help harmonise and streamline the Member States' national export controls.
The export control regimes are not based on any binding agreements under international law. The cooperation between the participating countries is politically binding. The activities are based on a common desire among the Member States to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and on national legislation that allows export controls of the goods and technologies that have been identified as strategic products. This cooperation helps the countries live up to their non-proliferation commitments within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions.
Work in the regimes covers three main areas:
- Identification of goods and technologies that can be used for the production of weapons of mass destruction and therefore should be subject to export controls at national level. The lists of products are continuously revised in light of technological developments. A few years ago the regimes also introduced a 'catch-all' clause in the guidelines over their activities to further strengthen export controls. The clause means that the Member States undertake to introduce national legislation that also allows the control of exports of goods and technologies that are not included on the regimes' control lists if reasons exist to suspect that they can be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles.
- An extensive exchange of information on the risks of proliferation, focusing on such matters as sensitive countries and end users, procurement patterns and possible networks for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- Out-reach activities. This mostly aims at providing information on the goals and activities of the regimes in contacts with third countries, promoting adherence to the regimes' export control guidelines and, where applicable, providing technical assistance to strengthen national export controls.
Division of labour
In charge is Minister of Commerce Ewa Björling.
The Department for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for export control issues (policy, legislation, Swedish representation in international negotiation forums).
The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority is responsible for licensing issues regarding exports of nuclear products.
The Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (ISP) is responsible for licensing issues regarding exports of other dual-use products.