March 4, 2019
For three days from February 26, 2019, an Asian Export Control Seminar, which was organized by the Center for Information on Security Trade Control (CISTEC), and co-organized by with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), was held in Tokyo. The seminar was the 26th seminar since its inauguration, bringing together approximately 200 participants from 32 countries and regions, international organizations and other organizations.
1. Background of the seminar
In 1993, the Asian Export Control Seminar was inaugurated for persons in charge of export control in Asian countries and regions, aiming to enhance Asian and international efforts toward non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) across Asian countries and the rest of the world by raising common awareness of the importance of security export control and establishing and enhancing export control systems.
The 26th seminar confirmed the recent situation of WMDs with concerns over a growing diversity of procurement activities, such as more sophisticated means taken to access important technologies for developing and manufacturing WMDs or weapons. Based on this, participants shared best practices for improving the effectiveness of export control and enriched understanding of the importance of member countries’ commitments to enhancing export control in the future.
2. Outline of the seminar
The seminar brought together about 200 people from 32 countries and regions, including ASEAN economies, India, China, the United States and European countries, international organizations, private companies and other organizations.
(2) Highlights of the seminar
Mr. Yoshihiro Seki, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, delivered opening remarks and stated that [i] amid the recent development of civil technologies, diversity and sophistication of procurement activities by organizations of concern to access sensitive technologies are growing, and member countries need to enhance their effectiveness in controlling technologies, [ii] in this sense, Japan has been revising laws and regulations and proactively issuing instructions to universities, research institutes and companies, and [iii] it is important for member countries to lead sharing best practices among countries toward overall enhancement of export control systems.
[Panel discussions: Improving effectiveness of export control]
Participants shared information on changes in security environments in which procurement means by organizations of concern targeting more advanced civil technologies have been more diversified and sophisticated, and they held discussions on necessary approaches to conducting more effective export control to address these changes. They offered a variety of points of discussion, including: the importance of advancing comprehensive approaches covering investment regulations and control of intangible technology transfer (ITT) as well as export control; the importance of identifying SMEs, universities and other organizations having sensitive technologies with the view to enhancing governmental outreach activities targeting such organizations; and the significance of collaboration with financial institutes in order to combat illegal fund supply to activities for WMD proliferation. Moreover, to address these goals, participants proactively exchanged views concerning closer domestic collaboration between related governmental organizations and the need for enhanced international collaboration between related organizations.
[International efforts pursuing global security]
Concerning efforts for preventing the proliferation of WMDs, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 Committee, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan held presentations. They explained the progress of member countries in implementing efforts for preventing the proliferation of WMDs and shared information on measures provided by these organizations for supporting member countries and others in further enhancing efforts. Furthermore, the international export control regimes explained their latest efforts based on the advancement of technologies and other trends. This provided a good opportunity for participating Asian countries to raise further awareness of the significance for Asian countries as well as to observe the guidelines stipulated by the regimes and the UN Security Council Resolutions and prevent WMD proliferation to countries of concern as the international export control regimes and the UN have proactively been engaging in the outreach activities.
[Development of export control systems in Asia]
Representatives of Thailand, China, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Mongolia and Pakistan made briefings on their export control systems. They explained the current situation of their export controls, the progress in their export control efforts, and other information. These briefings provided participants with a good opportunity to learn about the current development situations of such systems in Asia. Moreover, speakers explained their efforts for outreach to the industrial world in their countries and other initiatives. This also provided participants with a good opportunity to share the latest information on the development of export control systems in Asia.
[Current status of export control systems in participating countries and progress in implementation of practical matters therein]
Representatives of the European Union, the Netherlands, Germany, Republic of Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, Singapore and France made briefings on the current status of their export control systems and the progress in implementation of related practical matters. They explained trends in member countries, such as: revision of export control systems, efforts for ITT control, including management of transfers made through cloud computing, technology evaluation methods, catch-all controls and operation thereof, collaboration with industrial and academic players, collaboration between domestic enforcement organizations and posterior inspections. These briefings provided a good opportunity for participants to share useful information. They also provided a good opportunity for participants facing the same challenges to raise awareness and learn about the measures for solving such challenges.
Breakout sessions (sessions mainly for holding small-group discussions) were divided into two groups, namely a group of officials in charge of policymaking and a group of licensing officials, and participants proactively exchanged views. At the sessions of officials in charge of policymaking, participants proactively discussed ideal approaches to collaboration among ministries and agencies in advancing export control. At the sessions of licensing officials, participants held discussions, based on specific case examples, concerning the examination of export licensing examples and shared experiments and know-how. Moreover, these discussions at the sessions contributed to enhancing personal networks among participants.
[Strengthening efforts for export control by companies]
Private companies developing international business (Hamamatsu Photonics K.K., Japan; General Electric Company, U.S., Ericsson, Sweden, and Infineon Technologies AG, Germany) made briefings on their efforts for observing export control. These briefings helped participants enrich their understanding of companies’ efforts for export control. Moreover, participants advanced discussions on problems that companies are facing in export control and companies’ requests for export control authorities, including promoting integration of export control efforts between regions and business burdens imposed in re-export control.
[Practical efforts involving ITT (excursion to the University of Tsukuba and the Tsukuba Space Center, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)]
As an opportunity to show Japan’s efforts for ITT, an issue with growing importance, an excursion to the University of Tsukuba and JAXA was held bringing together about 50 participants who raised their awareness of the importance of the control of ITT and challenges therein.
(3) Results of the seminar
Bringing together about 200 people from 32 countries and regions, mainly Asian countries and regions and including the United States, European countries, international organizations and other organizations, the seminar participants proactively exchanged views concerning a variety of challenges in and countries’ efforts involving export control, effective execution of export control measures and other issues. The seminar also contributed to enhancing networking between participants. METI will continue to make efforts for encouraging Asian countries and regions to establish export control systems through its outreach activities, including this seminar.
METI State Minister Seki delivering a speech
Scene of the panel discussion
Division in Charge
Office of International Affairs for Security Export Control, Trade Control Department, Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau