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Dual use controls | Brussels, 21 November 2017

Commission report shows EU tightening its export control system for strategic products

The European Commission’s annual report on controlling exports of products with both civilian and military use shows progress in tightening controls.

Covering 2016, the report points to clear progress in tightening controls on the export of sensitive 'dual-use' products, such as nuclear technology, chemical equipment or high-tech electronics, that can be used for both civilian or military purposes. Exports of such goods are controlled so as to prevent the proliferation of dangerous weapons that could affect international security, be misused for terrorism or cause human rights violations.

In 2016 the Commission made its annual proposal for modernising EU export controls, and updated the EU list of dual-use items to incorporate modifications agreed in the multilateral export control regimes. These actions represented important steps forward towards updating and strengthening controls.

The report looks at the activities of the Dual-Use Coordination Group, a body made up of Commission and Member State officials. Positive developments include the Group’s development of an EU-level IT infrastructure for secure information exchange and its publishing of guidelines to help exporters apply controls.

The report also shows action taken by the Group to ensure transparency and dialogue with industry and academia, such as the EU Export Control Forum of 12 December 2016. The Forum provided stakeholders from industry and civil society the opportunity to discuss export control reform with representatives from the European Parliament, Member States and the Commission.

According to the report, in 2015 the value of controlled dual-use exports reached EUR 44 bn, representing 2.5% of total extra-EU exports.

The report forms part of the Commission’s efforts to enhance transparency and improve firms’ compliance and capacity to implement controls set out in its 2014 Communication and in its 2016 proposal.

The report was prepared by the Commission in collaboration with Member States in the 'Dual Use Coordination Group'. The Commission has now sent the report to the European Parliament and the Council, both of which are currently examining the Commission’s 2016 proposal for modernising EU export controls.

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