The Wassenaar Arrangement (full name: The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies) is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) with 41 participating states including many former COMECON (Warsaw Pact) countries.
The Wassenaar Arrangement has been established in order to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilising accumulations. Participating States seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities.
It is the successor to the Cold War-era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), and was established on 12 July 1996, in Wassenaar, the Netherlands, which is near The Hague. The Wassenaar Arrangement is considerably less strict than COCOM, focusing primarily on the transparency of national export control regimes and not granting veto power to individual members over organizational decisions. A Secretariat for administering the agreement is located in Vienna, Austria. Like COCOM, however, it is not a treaty, and therefore is not legally binding.
Every six months member countries exchange information on deliveries of conventional arms to non-Wassenaar members that fall under eight broad weapons categories: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), large-caliber artillery, military aircraft, military helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems, and small arms and light weapons.
The outline of the arrangement is set out in a document entitled "Guidelines & Procedures, including the Initial Elements". The list of restricted technologies is broken into two parts, the "List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies" (also known as the Basic List) and the "Munitions List". The Basic List is composed of ten categories based on increasing levels of sophistication:
- Category 1 – Special Materials and Related Equipment
- Category 2 – Materials Processing
- Category 3 – Electronics
- Category 4 – Computers
- Category 5 – Part 1 – Telecommunications
- Category 5 – Part 2 – "Information Security"
- Category 6 – Sensors and "Lasers"
- Category 7 – Navigation and Avionics
- Category 8 – Marine
- Category 9 – Aerospace and Propulsion
Basic List has two nested subsections—Sensitive and Very Sensitive. Items of the Very Sensitive List include materials for stealth technology—i.e., equipment that could be used for submarine detection, advanced radar, and jet engine technologies.
The Munitions List has 22 categories, which are not labeled.
In order for an item to be placed on the lists, Member States must take into account the following criteria:
- Foreign availability outside Participating States
- Ability to effectively control the export of the goods
- Ability to make a clear and objective specification of the item.
- Controlled by another regime, such as the Australia Group, Nuclear Suppliers Group, or Missile Technology Control Regime
As of January 2012[update], the 41 participating states are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States. China and Israel are also not members, but they have aligned their export controls with Wassenaar lists, and are significant arms exporters.
The Arrangement is open on a global and non-discriminatory basis to prospective adherents that comply with the agreed criteria. Admission of new members requires the consensus of all members.
Admission requires states to:
- Be a producer or exporter of arms or sensitive industrial equipment
- Maintain non-proliferation policies and appropriate national policies, including adherence to:
- Non-proliferation policies, such as (where applicable) the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Australia Group
- Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention and, where applicable, START I (including the Lisbon Protocol)
- Maintain fully effective export controls
During a state visit to India in November 2010, U.S. president Barack Obama announced U.S. support for India's bid for permanent membership to UN Security Council as well as India's entry to Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group, and Missile Technology Control Regime.
- Arms Export Control Act
- Defense Security Cooperation Agency
- Export Control Classification Number
- International Traffic in Arms Regulations
- Guidelines & Procedures, including the Initial Elements The Wassenaar Arrangement
- Participating States The Wassenaar Arrangement
- "Obama endorses India's bid for permanent seat in UNSC". The Times of India. 8 November 2010.
- "Obama seeks expanded India-US trade". Al Jazeera English. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- "Obama in Mumbai Calls India Market of the Future". Voice of America. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.