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The 24th Asian Export Control Seminar Held

From February 21 to 23, 2017, the Asian Export Control Seminar was held in Tokyo by the Center for Information on Security Trade Control (CISTEC) as an organizer, jointly with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) as co-organizers. The seminar marked its 24th anniversary this year and was held with about 190 people from around 30 countries and regions, international organizations, think tanks and other organizations attending.

1. Background to the seminar

In 1993, the Asian Export Control Seminar was inaugurated for officials in charge of export control in Asian countries and regions, aiming to step up Asian and international efforts toward non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and related items by raising common awareness of the importance of security export control and by establishing and strengthening export control systems. As the environments surrounding global security are changing significantly, Asia, a region with dramatic economic development, is facing increased risk of being taken advantage of by countries of concern and terrorist groups as supply sources of sensitive goods and as bases for circumvention trade. Against this backdrop, at the seminar, participants exchanged views concerning strengthen of systems as countermeasures against sophisticated procurement activities by such countries of concern and terrorist groups, and progress and challenges in the development of security export control.

2. Outline of the seminar

1) Participants

The seminar was held with about 190 people from around 30 countries and regions, including ASEAN economies, India, China, the United States, European countries, and international organizations, think tanks and other organizations attending.

2) Details of the seminar

Opening remarks

Mr. Toshinao Nakagawa, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, delivered opening remarks and stated the importance of establishing an effective export control system across Asia and rigorous enforcement thereof as well as the significance of enhanced global collaboration therefor, in light of: the current situations of increasing seriousness in environments surrounding security, such as nuclear testing and missile launches by the DPRK and non-state terrorist attacks; and the growing diversity and sophistication of procurement activities of goods and technologies related to WMDs by countries of concern and terrorist groups.

Current changes of environment surrounding security export control

At a panel discussion, panelists discussed issues concerning the enhancement of efforts for export control bearing in mind the growing diversity and sophistication of activities by countries of concern and terrorist groups to procure sensitive goods and technologies. The panelists (Mr. Yoichi Iida, Director-General, Trade Control Department, METI; Mr. Alexander Lopes Jr., Director, Office of Non Proliferation and Treaty Compliance, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce; Mr. Faizal Mohd Yusof, Strategic Trade Controller, Strategic Trade Secretariat, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia; and Mr. Ian J Stewart, Senior Researcher, King’s College London) presented the importance of human resource development, strict implementation and inter-agency cooperation to enhance the effectiveness of export control, as well as the need to develop efforts in collaboration not only with governments but also with the industry and academia. Furthermore, they discussed that the strengthen of international cooperation is more important than ever since countries of concerns and terrorist groups are highly likely to take advantage of countries and regions with vulnerable export control systems as bases for circumvention of the export control regulations.

Strengthening export control against the terrorism

Speakers made presentations concerning the need to tighten arms export controls to avoid the transfer of arms to terrorist groups as well as the illegal sale and diversion of arms and against the worldwide activities of such groups. They presented case examples of successfully limiting markets for trade and deactivation of the firearms, and cautioned about terrorist groups’ approaches to obtaining arms. It was good opportunity to raise participants’ awareness of the importance of strengthening the arms export controls to terrorist groups.

International efforts pursuing global security

Representative of International Export Control Regimes, and Experts from the United Nations introduced their specific efforts against the development of nuclear weapon and missiles development by the DPRK and non-state terrorism, and introduced activities by countries of concern and terrorist groups to procure weapons. This session provided a good opportunity for participants to raise awareness again of the importance of establishing export controls with no loopholes by observing the International Export Control Regime’s guidelines and UN resolutions, considering any potential risk for all countries to become involved in procurement activities by countries of concern and terrorist groups.

Development of export control systems in Asia Region

Speakers reported on the over all of current situation and challenges of the export control systems in Asia, and the progress in the implementation of export control efforts in Thailand, China and the Philippines. This session provided a good opportunity for other participants to learn about the current situation of the progress of the export control system in Asia. Moreover, speakers presented analysis results showing that the successful implementation of export control systems in some countries brought about a positive impact on trade activities. This fact reminded that export control makes positive effects for economic aspects but not only for security and was very useful information especially for the countries that have not yet advanced the implementation of export control system.

Strengthening efforts for export control in the industry and academia

Speakers made presentations concerning: the importance of outreach to the industry and its case examples of companies’ efforts and the importance of export control efforts in universities and research institutes and its case examples of universities’ efforts. Regarding the export control in industry, speakers shared the recognition that export control in the industry should be conducted in cooperation with governments and led by the industry itself, and explained case examples of Japanese companies. Regarding the export control in academia, in light of the current situations in which many universities and research institutes conduct research on sensitive matters and often transfer their technologies to other organizations/people, speakers explained the importance of encouraging academia to control the intangible technologies transfer (ITT), and introduced case examples of efforts for introducing digitalization in the export control by a Japanese university.

Breakout sessions

Opinions were exchanged at breakout sessions (small-group sessions mainly for holding interactive discussions) with participants divided into three groups, namely, a group of officials in charge of policymaking, a group of licensing officials, and a group of enforcement officials. At the sessions of officials in charge of policy issues, participants discussed issues concerning the approaches to popularizing export control in countries and also discussed the importance of deepening the cooperation with stakeholders and gaining the public understanding that export control would not give negative impacts for economic. At the sessions of a group of licensing officers and enforcement officials, participants focused on the common challenges that each groups are facing and discussed approaches to advancing human resource development, information exchange and inter-agency cooperation. Moreover, these discussions at the sessions contributed to the enhancement of the networks among participants.

Current topics related to export control

Speakers made presentations concerning the importance of transshipment and transit control as well as catch-all control, and case examples of domestic efforts in their own countries. It was good opportunity to raise participants’ awareness about importance of appropriate information exchange with related organizations to avoid the hindrance of legitimate trade activities. Moreover, speakers shared the recognition that the catch-all control should be conducted through determining end use and end user since some items and technologies which are not controlled under the international export control regimes might have potential functions equivalent to controlled items or might become alternatives for such items.

3) Outcomes from the seminar

The seminar was successfully held with as many as 190 participants in total from about 30 countries and regions including ASEAN economies, India, China, the United States and European countries, and international organizations, think tanks, and other organizations attending, and they comprehensively exchanged information and opinions on various issues and efforts concerning export controls from various perspectives. Such exchanges provided the participating countries and regions with an opportunity to raise their awareness of matters, such as the need to further cooperate toward the non-proliferation of WMDs and related items so as to promote strategic trade control and the need to conduct export controls through collaboration between the public and private sectors in order to achieve economic development.
METI will continue to make efforts concerning the establishment and strengthening of export controls for Asian countries and regions through outreach activities, such as this seminar.

3. Participating countries, regions and organizations

1) Asian countries and regions: 19

Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, ROK, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and Viet Nam

2) Other countries and regions: 13

Australia, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States

3) International export control regimes

Australia Group (AG) for the control of chemical and biological weapons and related items
Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) for the control of conventional arms and related items

4) International organizations and universities

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 Committee
Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1874 (2009), of the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
King’s College London
State University of New York
Center for International Trade and Security, University of Georgia
Nagoya University, etc.

Notes:

Related information

Release date

March 2, 2017

Division in Charge

Office of International Affairs for Security Export Control, Trade Control Department, Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau

Related Information

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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