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15. Multilateral weapon-related export control measures




The issue of export controls has occupied an important place in multilateral
diplomacy for some time, but their evolution has recently been affected by the
new international environment. Several questions central to the export control
debate have taken on new implications: What is the role of technology in
international security after the cold war? What sort of political alignments
will emerge to replace the antagonistic bipolar security system? How can arms
control address current international security issues?

In 1994 only 33 states participated actively in multilateral weapon-related
export control regimes. Attention was focused on attracting new members and
harmonizing the regimes, which no longer emphasize technology denial but seek
to establish rules for trade and technology transfer.

Each regime examined has or had a different focus. The COCOM embargo sought to
prevent exports that could contribute to the military potential of a list of
target countries. The Zangger Committee and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
try to restrict exports that could contribute to the acquisition of nuclear
weapons by non-nuclear weapon states. The Australia Group aims to limit the
transfer of chemical weapon precursors, equipment used in the production of
chemical and biological weapons, and biological warfare agents and organisms.
The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) seeks to limit the spread of
delivery systems other than manned aircraft with a range of 300 km or
greater that are capable of delivering nuclear, biological and chemical

Because of major incompatibilities in the specific interests of the major
suppliers agreement has not been reached on multilateral efforts to address
problems associated with conventional arms transfers. By contrast, the possible
spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons causes alarm and there is a
consensus among some 30-35 countries that they have a strong mutual self-

in taking measures to prevent further proliferation. Accordingly, there has
been a progressive harmonization in the membership of the multilateral regimes
designed to address the potential proliferation of materials, equipment and
technology related to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and missile
delivery systems.