February 19, 2020
For two days, on February 12 and 13, 2020, 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 was the 27th seminar since its inauguration, bringing together approximately 230 participants from 33 countries and regions, international organizations and other organizations.
1. Background to and overview of the seminar
The Asian Export Control Seminar, an annual event, has been held in Tokyo since 1993 targeting persons in charge of export control in Asian countries and regions.
From the standpoint of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and preventing the excess accumulation of conventional weapons, Japan considers it important to enhance systems toward non-proliferation of such weapons across Asian countries and regions, which have recently begun to play a leading role in a core part of global supply chains.
The seminar aims to foster common recognition toward establishment and enhancement of export control systems in Asian countries and regions, and to this end, it has been providing participants with opportunities to actively exchange views on international security export control efforts, the current situations of efforts by member countries, new challenges surrounding export control and other issues.
The 27th seminar focuses on the growing diversity and sophistication of procurement activities for accessing sensitive technologies applicable to developing and manufacturing WMDs or conventional weapons in Asian countries and regions, and against this backdrop, participants shared the current situations of activities by international organizations and efforts and best practices involving export control tackled by member countries and, through this information sharing, they enriched their common understanding of the need for enhancing the effectiveness of export control.
2. Outline of the seminar
The seminar brought together about 230 people from 33 countries and regions, including Asian countries, the United States and European countries, and the United Nations and other international organizations, private companies and other organizations.
(2) Highlights of the seminar
Mr. Makihara Hideki, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, delivered the opening remarks. He pointed out growing concerns over military use of advanced technologies in the Asian region and conveyed the message that it is important for Asian countries and regions to appropriately control sensitive technologies and enhance the effectiveness of export control for the purposes of addressing more diversified and sophisticated procurement activities of sensitive technologies and satisfying international obligations.
Moreover, he explained Japan’s initiatives, in particular, measures for supporting SMEs and venture businesses in raising awareness of export control and establishing export control systems, release of a guidance document and a collection of examples of minor but potentially dangerous incidents targeting universities and research institutes concerning the control of sensitive technologies involving intangible technology transfer, and the revision of the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, aiming to appropriately control foreign direct investment in Japan.
[Panel discussion: Global supply chains and export control]
As the importance of Asia in global supply chains is increasing, Participants held discussions on actions necessary, including export control, to address diversion of emerging technologies to military use and more diversified and sophisticated procurement activities of sensitive technologies.
Some participants pointed out that addressing changes in environments surrounding such security requires the institutional development and enhancement of export control (e.g., development of laws and regulations for export control, effective licensing and enforcement control,) and to this end, each country should, in collaboration with other Asian countries, advance cooperation in establishing export control systems and developing human resources for such systems. The issue was also raised that addressing emerging technologies, a new concern, requires cross-border, international cooperation; and that addressing intangible technology transfer requires close communication between governments and industrial players.
Moreover, others pointed out the need for establishing cooperative relationships with SMEs, venture businesses and academic organizations and the need for enhancing collaboration among related ministries and agencies. Following this, participants actively exchanged views.
[International efforts pursuing global security]
Concerning efforts for preventing the proliferation of WMDs, representatives of the Group of Experts under the United Nations Security Council 1540 Committee, the Panel of Experts established pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1874, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) explained the efforts being tackled by the respective organizations.
They explained the progress of member countries in implementing efforts under the international framework and shared information on support and other measures provided by these organizations to encourage member countries to further enhance export control.
In addition, the International Export Control Regimes (the Australia Group (AG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA)) explained their latest efforts in light of the advancement of technologies.
This provided an opportunity for participating Asian countries to recognize the significance of observing the U.N. Security Council Resolutions and the guidelines stipulated by the international export control regime to prevent WMD proliferation within countries of concern.
[Development of export control systems in Asia]
Representatives of Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Thailand and Viet Nam briefed the audience on their export control systems and efforts, and these briefings provided participants with a good opportunity to learn about the current situations of such systems and the progress in development thereof in Asian countries.
Moreover, as their new export control efforts in Asia, some speakers explained their actions for addressing intangible technology transfer and outreach activities to industrial and academic players. This also provided participants with a good opportunity to share the latest information.
[Trends in export control systems in participating countries and progress in implementation]
Representatives of Germany, Russian Federation, Japan, Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the United Kingdom and France explained the trends and challenges in the recent export control systems and their related efforts.
Speakers provided information on their collaboration with industrial and academic players and related support measures, efforts for controlling intangible technology transfer, licensing procedures, measures for addressing transshipment, application of catch-all controls to emerging technologies and measures for addressing emerging technologies.
This also served as a good awareness-raising opportunity for participants in terms of the measures being employed to solve these challenges which member countries commonly face.
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 officials in charge of licensing, and participants actively exchanged views. At the sessions for officials in charge of policymaking, participants discussed solutions to challenges for appropriately controlling intangible technology transfer. At the sessions for officials in charge of licensing, participants held discussions, based on specific case examples, on examination processes for export licensing applications, and shared experiences and know-how concerning practical matters related to the examinations.
[Efforts for export control by companies]
Representatives of private companies conducting international business (JTEKT Corporation and Rolls-Royce plc) provided explanations on their export control and technology control efforts. These explanations enriched the participants’ understanding of companies’ efforts for export control.
Moreover, these companies shared information with participants on challenges that companies may face in conducting and advancing export control (e.g., companies’ appropriate implementation of internal export control programs and addressing government regulations on export control that varies from country to country).
(3) Results of the seminar
Bringing together about 230 people involved in export control from 33 countries and regions, including Asian and other countries and regions, international and other organizations, the seminar participants actively exchanged views concerning a variety of export control-related challenges and participating countries’ responses, effective implementation of export control measures and other issues.
In addition, these opinion exchanges contributed to enhancing networking between participants from both Asian and non-Asian countries and regions.
METI will continue to make efforts encouraging Asian countries and regions to establish export control systems and enhance the effectiveness thereof through its outreach activities, including this seminar.
Note: For details of the security and export control efforts in Japan, visit the following website.
- METI State Minister Makihara delivering a speech
- Scene from a seminar
Division in Charge
Office of International Affairs for Security Export Control, Trade Control Department, Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau