Strategic Export Control

  • Filippo SeviniEmail author
  • Willem A. Janssens


Strategic, or dual-use, goods and associated knowledge have played a key role in the development of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery since WWII’s nuclear developments. Nuclear export controls and international safeguards have therefore developed in parallel in various phases, triggered by major international events, which showed how the insufficient scope of the controls existing at that time, as well as how legal framework’s loopholes, could be exploited to acquire sensitive goods. Following a phase of ‘country-to-country’ support in the development of nuclear programmes, the history of proliferation has shown how in particular in the 1980s–1990s the illicit transfer of strategic goods and technology has been an additional key element and threat allowing the development of competences and capabilities. The control of strategic trade was therefore set up as a barrier against the diffusion of sensitive materials, components and technologies, which could be used for the proliferation of nuclear biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The result has been a continuously evolving multi-layered regime which comprises Treaties, International Agreements, UN Security Council Resolutions, embargo measures and national laws. This formed a sort of system of “defence in depth” system, which has legal as well as political grounds, various procedural and technical key elements contributing to deter, delay and detect proliferation activities. The chapter reviews the background and key aspects of strategic export control, developing on the contents and challenges and its relevance to countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as its relevance to disarmament and arms control.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EC Directorate General Joint Research CentreDirectorate G - Nuclear Safety and SecurityIspraItaly

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