Background

The U.S. and others announced Dec. 10 plans to collaborate over the next year on export controls for dual-use goods that can be used to enable human rights abuses.

In a joint statement, the U.S., Australia, Denmark, and Norway noted that advanced technologies are a vital part of global economic growth and communication and that legitimate trade in these technologies is “essential for the well-being of our future generations.” At the same time, they said, authoritarian governments increasingly are using surveillance tools and other related technologies in connection with serious human rights abuses, both within their countries and across international borders.

As a result, the four countries committed to (1) working to develop a voluntary, non-binding written code of conduct intended to guide the application of human rights criteria to export licensing policy and practice, (2) building policy alignment with like-minded partners that leads to common action and concrete and practical outcomes, and (2) bringing together policy makers, technical experts, and export control and human rights practitioners to ensure that critical and emerging technologies work for, and not against, democratic societies. Collaborative efforts over the next year will including exploring how best to strengthen domestic legal frameworks; share information on threats and risks; share, develop, and implement best practices; and improve others’ capacity to do the same.

The U.S. noted that it is already pursuing related initiatives with other trading partners. For example, through their Trade and Technology Council the U.S. and the European Union have
determined shared principles and areas for export control cooperation, including capacity
building assistance to third countries to support multilateral export control regimes, prior
consultations on current and upcoming legislative and regulatory developments, and
developing convergent control approaches on sensitive dual-use technologies. The U.S. has also launched new bilateral cooperative partnerships on critical and emerging technologies with Japan and South Korea.

For more information on export controls, please contact attorney Kristine Pirnia via email.

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