Report on Multilateral Export Control List Modification Processes Published

My report with the Flemish Peace Institute on Multilateral Export Control List Modification Processes is now published. The first part of the introduction is below.

An export control system is one of a range of mechanisms that states can employ to govern the security concerns tied to goods and technologyI. It is a tool that has been used by states as long as states have existed, in conjunction with sanctions, embargos, interdictions, and intelligence activities. Put simply, export controls control the transfer out of a state of objects and knowledge of potential security concern. Any export control system must contain a list of items to control, a way of controlling the export, and a method of enforcing compliance with the system. Of these various parts of the export control system, perhaps the most under- studied are the lists of items under control. How did these items get onto (or off of) the lists? How is an item on a list related to an object that is actually exported? Who has a say in what is listed or not?

This report addresses these questions by providing an analysis of the processes states go through to modify the lists they employ in their export control systems. The lists are often intricate, and while some are updated yearly, others go many years between modifications. While some items on the lists may be added by a single state or region, the majority of them derive from multilaterally agreed lists that have been in place for decades. Understanding how these lists change is a key part of both being involved in the process and being able to critique the process. This document aides that understanding.

Download the Full Report on the Flemish Peace Institute website.

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