Greater regulation of small arms
In order to improve the control of small arms and light weapons (particularly machine guns, submachine guns and assault rifles), the German government has adopted the “Small Arms Principles” (Principles on the issue of licences for the export of small and light weapons, related ammunition and corresponding manufacturing equipment to third countries).
They supplement the strict criteria of the existing Political Principles. The new Small Arms Principles provide not least that in principle no licences to export components and technology to third countries (e.g. in the context of the granting of licences to manufacture) will be granted where such exports would lead to the establishment of a new manufacturing line for small arms or the relevant ammunition. The basic principle is “new for old”. If the recipient wishes to obtain small arms, he needs to discard and destroy old small arms in order to be sent the new ones. The aim is to prevent the proliferation of small arms. In cases in which the new purchase covers a credible need on the part of the recipient for more equipment, and old weapons do not need to be destroyed, the recipient has to make a binding promise to destroy the new weapons when they are discarded (the “alternative” principle of “New, destroy when discarded”). Also, recipients in third countries will in future require the agreement of the German government before they hand small arms on to other recipients in the country of destination than those covered by the export licence.
Introduction of post-shipment controls
In order to improve the controls of the end-use of war weapons and other military equipment, the German government has decided to introduce “post-shipment controls” on a pilot basis in third countries. What this means is that, before the export licence is issued, state recipients of small arms in third countries will have to agree to actual controls of the cited end-use of the military equipment in the country of destination. In other words, following the export, it will be possible to inspect whether the small arms are actually still in the possession of the end-user in the country of destination. This can prevent small arms from being passed on to others without permission. This improves end-use verification for military equipment exported from Germany.
The German government created the basis for this in July 2015 in its key principles on the introduction of post-shipment controls and in changes made to the Foreign Trade and Payments Ordinance in March 2016. Germany is thus introducing a system where controls for exports of military equipment are not completed after the granting of an export licence. Germany is a pioneer in this, alongside just a few other countries, at European and international level.
In order to gather initial experience with on-the-spot controls, the German government is concentrating on controlling small arms in a pilot phase. The first on-the-spot controls can of course not be carried out until weapons have been produced and exported subject to post-shipment controls. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy expects the first controls to be carried out this year.
Dual use goods and surveillance technology
Dual use goods are not military equipment. They are goods that can be used both for civilian and for military purposes, such as machine tools, testing and measuring equipment, materials, valves, electronics and a host of other industrial products. Their export is regulated at European Level by the Dual Use Regulation. Further information can be found here (in German).