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Recently, The USA Decided To Support India’s Membership In Multilateral Export Control Regimes Called the “Australia Group” and the “Wassenaar Arrangement”. What is the Difference between them?

Recently, the USA decided to support India’s membership in multilateral export control regimes called the “Australia Group” and the “Wassenaar Arrangement”. What is the difference between them?

1. The Australia Group is an informal arrangement which aims to allow exporting countries to minimise the risk of assisting chemical and biological weapons proliferation, whereas the Wassenaar- Arrangement is a formal group under the OECD holding identical objectives.

2. The Australia Group comprises predominantly of Asian, African and North American countries, whereas the member countries of Wassenaar Arrangement are predominantly from the European Union and American continents.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?(2011)

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: D

Multilateral Export Control Regimes(MECR)

There are currently four such regimes under MECR

  • The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), for the control of nuclear related technology.
  • The Australia Group (AG) for control of chemical and biological technology that could be weaponized.
  • The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) for the control of rockets and other aerial vehicles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.

Australia Group

  • The Australia Group (AG) is an informal forum of countries which, through the harmonisation of export controls, seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons.
  • The formation of the Australia Group (AG) in 1985 was prompted by Iraq’s use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)
  • Coordination of National export control measures assists Australia Group members to fulfil their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological & Toxin Weapons Convention.
  • The Australia Group has a list of 54 compounds that are identified to be regulated in global trade. This list includes more items than the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • It has 43 members (including the European union). The members work on a consensus basis. The annual meeting is held in Paris, France.

Wassenaar Arrangement

  • The Wassenaar Arrangement is a voluntary export control regime. The Arrangement, formally established in July 1996, has 42 members who exchange information on transfers of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies.
  • Dual-use refers to the ability of a good or technology to be used for multiple purposes – usually peaceful and military.
  • The Wassenaar Arrangement has been established in order to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies
  • Wassenaar Arrangement’s Secretariat is in Vienna, Austria.
  • It has 42 member states comprising mostly NATO and EU states.

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