LIST CONSTRUCTION

The MoD representative suggested that the United Kingdom was taking a pragmatic approach toward construction of a core list. This entailed sitting down with technical experts and asking three basic questions:

  1. Is the technology static?

  2. Can it be controlled?

  3. Is it available in other countries and not under control?

Based on these criteria, for example, some computer software should not be on a core list because it is so widely available in non-CoCom countries.

The MoD representative also noted that, over the years, the CoCom lists had become more technically defined, which had led to an expansion of the lists. At the same time, the United Kingdom believes that sunset provisions, which provide for automatic decontrol at a specified time, are dangerous and that, in fact, items should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Thus, the current, reduced lists must remain in place until a core list is agreed upon. The CoCom unanimity rule must also remain in place because only consensus can keep the playing field level for all.

PROLIFERATION CONTROLS

The United Kingdom is a member of the Australia Group* (AG) on chemical weapons. The British vigorously watch trade in the precursor chemicals on the AG's control list and have added six more to that list; they have also established a warning list in an effort to work with the British business community. There are no chemical weapons related controls on process technology, but such technology may be controlled for other reasons. Because it would be impossible to create an all-encompassing chemical weapons control list, the British found it preferable to work with the business community to create a corporate watch process for chemical weapons control. The British said that they had begun a similar effort for biological weapons, and they will soon be circulating information to British industry to make companies aware of potentially risky sales.

Finally, the British see the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as an adjunct to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. At present, however, they consider the MTCR a weak instrument of control because of the lack of a permanent secretariat, among other reasons. Additionally, the fundamental issues surrounding missile technology control overlap with civilian outer space issues, and therefore, the British believe that it will be difficult

*  

A group of nations, under the leadership of Australia, that have agreed to restrict, if not ban, the sale of chemical weapons precursors.



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