AND PRESENT STATUS
The Wassenaar Arrangement on export controls for Conventional
Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, is the first global multilateral arrangement
covering both conventional weapons and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies
which can be used in the development of weapons of mass destruction and their
While South Africa only became a member of the Wassenaar
Arrangement (WA) during 2006, it had already incorporated the 2003 WA control
lists as part of the National Conventional Arms Control Act, Act No. 41 of 2002.
On 1 December 2004 Cabinet approved that South Africa should become a member
of the WA. Acting on the instruction by Cabinet that the Department of Foreign
Affairs manage the process of South Africa's membership application, a formal
application was made in this regard.
Following the eleventh Plenary meeting
of the WA, held in Vienna from 13 -14 December 2005, the Plenary welcomed the
participation of Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia in the
Plenary for the first time, and admitted South Africa as the first African State
to join the Arrangement.
South Africa's membership of the WA was formalised
on 28 February 2006 by an exchange of letters between the Chair of the WA Plenary
and the South African Permanent Representative to the United Nations and International
Organisations in Vienna.
OTHER DEPARTMENTS AND COOPERATING ORGANISATIONS
Zangger Committee (ZC)
Australia Group (AG)
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
Control Regime (MTCR)
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
Weapons Convention (BWC)
Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
The Participating States seek
to ensure, through their national policies, that transfers of arms and dual-use
goods and technologies do not contribute to the development or enhancement of
military capabilities that undermine the goals of the Wassenaar Arrangement and
are not diverted to support such capabilities.
The Wassenaar Arrangement
is also designed to deal firmly with states whose behaviour is a cause for serious
concern by preventing, through shared national policies of restraint, their acquisition
of armaments and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies for military end-use.
In accordance with the objectives of the Arrangements, the Participating
States meet on a regular basis to ensure that transfers of conventional arms and
transfers of dual-use goods and technologies are carried out responsibly and in
furtherance of international and regional peace and security. Meetings are held
in Vienna, where the Arrangement has established its Headquarters and a small
Secretariat. Plenary Meetings are held at least once a year and the Plenary has
established a General Working Group and an Experts Group which meets periodically.
South African Government has since its inauguration in May 1994, committed itself
to a policy of non- proliferation, disarmament and arms control which covers all
weapons of mass destruction and extends to concerns relating to the proliferation
of conventional weapons. The Government, therefore, supports all bilateral and
multilateral initiatives to prevent the proliferation and development of such
weapons on the one hand and to promote total disarmament of these weapons on the
THE WASSENAAR ARRANGEMENT : FACT SHEET
1. What is the
role of the Wassenaar Arrangement?
The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls
for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, the first global multilateral
arrangement covering both conventional weapons and sensitive dual-use goods and
technologies, received final approval by 33 co-founding countries in July 1996
and began operations in September 1996.
As a means of contributing to
internal and regional security and stability, the Arrangement was designed to
prevent destabilising accumulations of arms and dual-use goods and technologies
by establishing a process of transparency, consultation and, where appropriate,
encouraging national policies of restraint, and by promoting greater responsibility
and accountability in transfers of arms and dual-use goods and technologies.
The Participating States seek through their national policies to ensure that transfers
of arms and dual-use goods and technologies do not contribute to the development
or enhancement of military capabilities that undermine the goals of the Wassenaar
Arrangement and are not diverted to support such capabilities.
decision to transfer or deny any item is the sole responsibility of each Participating
State and the Arrangement does not impede bona fide civil transactions. The Arrangement
considers exports to non-members only and is not directed against any state of
group of states. All measures undertaken with respect to the Arrangement are in
accordance with national legislation and policies and implemented on the basis
of national discretion.
The Wassenaar Arrangement is also designed to deal
firmly with states whose behaviour is a cause for serious concern by preventing,
through shared national policies of restraint, their acquisition of armaments
and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies for military end-use.
Are Participating States required to maintain export controls on certain items?
States maintain effective export controls on all items on the Wassenaar Arrangement
Munitions and Dual-Use lists, with the objective of preventing unauthorised transfers
or retransfer of those items. These lists will be reviewed periodically to take
into account technological advances or other changes in circumstances.
- The Dual-Use List, or Basic List (Tier 1), has two nested sub-divisions, a Sensitive
List (Tier 2) and a Very Sensitive List (Tier sub-set). For items on the Sensitive
List, information exchange requirements are more extensive (see below). For items
on the Very Sensitive List (e.g., stealth technology materials, high-powered computers,
equipment related to submarine detection, advanced radar, advanced jet engine
technology), Participating States are to exercise "extreme vigilance"
with respect to exports.
3. What is the relationship of the Wassenaar Arrangement
to other non-proliferation regimes?
* The Wassenaar Arrangement is designed
to complement and reinforce, without duplication, the existing regimes for weapons
of mass destruction and their delivery systems. The composition and goals of the
Arrangement close a critical gap in the international non-proliferation mechanisms,
which have concentrated on preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
and their delivery systems.
4. Do Wassenaar Arrangement commitments affect
legitimate defence trade and technology transfers?
The Arrangement does
not interfere with the rights of states to acquire legitimate means with which
to defend themselves pursuant to Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations,
nor does it, as mentioned, impede bona fide civil transactions.
States are concerned with preventing destabilising accumulations of arms and sensitive
dual-use goods and technologies and with preventing the acquisition of arms and
sensitive dual-use goods and technologies for military end-use if the situation
in a region or the behaviour of a state is, or becomes, a cause for serious concern
to the Participating States.
5. What are the criteria for membership?
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.
To be admitted, a state must: be a producer/exporter
of arms or sensitive industrial equipment; maintain non- proliferation policies
and appropriate national policies including: adherence to non-proliferation policies,
control lists and where applicable, guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group
(NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Australia Group; and
adherence to the Nuclear Non- proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Biological and Toxicological
Weapons Treaty (BWC), the Chemical Weapons Treaty (CWC) and, where applicable,
START 1, including the Lisbon Protocol; and maintain fully effective export controls.
- The Arrangement does not have an observer category.
6. Can countries
implement the Wassenaar Arrangement control lists without joining the Arrangement?
non-participating states are encouraged to maintain fully effective export controls,
to adopt national policies consistent with the objectives of the Wassenaar Arrangement
and to adhere to relevant non-proliferation treaties and regimes. Maintaining
fully effective export controls could include implementation of the Wassenaar
Arrangement control lists in accordance with national legislation and regulations.
7. What is the current membership of the Wassenaar Arrangement?
40 Participating States of the WA are currently: Argentina, Australia, Austria,
Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland,
France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg,
Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea,
Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States (March 2006).
8. Is there a benefit to membership?
The Wassenaar Arrangement provides
a venue in which governments can consider collectively the implications of various
transfers on their international and regional security interests. This is the
principal security benefit that membership brings. Through transparency and consultation,
suppliers of arms and dual-use items can develop common understandings of the
risks associated with their transfer and assess the scope for coordinating national
control policies to combat these risks.
- Membership in the Wassenaar
Arrangement does not provide an entitlement to obtain arms or dual-use goods or
technologies from another member and no obligation to supply it. Members are expected,
just as in such trade between members and non-members, to exercise responsibility
and appropriate vigilance in trade with other members.
- However, a country's
record of consistent fulfilment of membership criteria and commitments clearly
would be positive factors taken into account in members' export decisions.
What are the information exchange requirements?
Information exchange requirements
are set forth in the Arrangement's Initial Elements, which comprise the commitments
undertaken by Participating States.
Participating States also exchange
on a voluntary basis general information that will enhance transparency and that
will lead to discussion among all Participating States of transfer of arms and
sensitive dual-use goods and technologies and on the risks associated with such
transfers in order to consider, where necessary, the scope for coordinating national
control policies to combat these risks.
Information exchanged in the
Arrangement can include any matter that individual Participating States wish to
bring to the attention of other members, such as emerging trends in weapons programmes,
projects of concern and the accumulation of particular weapon systems. For those
wishing to do so, notifications may go beyond those agreed upon.
Arrangement's specific information exchange requirements involve semi-annual notifications
of arms transfers, currently covering seven categories derived from the UN Register
of Conventional Arms (including model and type information), Sensitive List dual-use
transfers and denials of Basic List dual-use transfers. Members are also required
to report within 30-60 days any denials of Sensitive List items. Any member that
undercuts such denials (i.e., exports the denied item to the same end-user) within
three years of the denial must report the issuance of the export licence within
- Denial reporting helps to alert members that a non-member
may be seeking an item that would undermine the objectives of the regime and helps
to foster common and consistent export policies while eliminating inadvertent
undercuts by other members.
Over time, such information exchanges will help
members detect and prevent destabilising accumulations or emerging trends or threats
that may undermine the regime's objectives. Any information on specific transfers
in addition to that specified above may be requested through normal diplomatic
10. Is the information exchanged in the Arrangement confidential?
exchanged in the Arrangement remains confidential and is treated as privileged
diplomatic communications. However, Participating States can discuss whether to
make information public.
11. Where and how often are meetings held?
accordance with the objectives of the Arrangements, Participating States meet
on a regular basis to ensure that transfers of conventional arms and transfers
of dual-use goods and technologies are carried out responsibly and in furtherance
of international and regional peace and security. Meetings are held in Vienna,
where the Arrangement has established its Headquarters and a small Secretariat.
Plenary Meetings are held at least once a year and the Plenary has established
a General Working Group and an Experts' Group, which meet periodically.
Decisions are made by consensus.
The Wassenaar Arrangement has decided
to conduct outreach activities to prospective members and non-members. These outreach
activities, conducted by the Plenary chairman, Secretariat personnel or by teams
composed of Participating State representatives, are designed to prepare prospective
members for admission and to keep non-members informed about the group's activities,
within the limits set by the Arrangement's confidentiality guidelines, and encouraged
to maintain effective export controls and appropriate national policies.
12. How is the Arrangement paid for?
Financial needs of the Arrangement
are covered under annual budgets adopted at Plenary Meetings.