Reforming the EU’s Export Controls for Dual-Use Products

BDI KAS Working Group on 'International Trade'

On 12 October 2016, the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation hosted the 31st session of the Working Group on International Trade in cooperation with the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The workshop addressed the topic of “Reforming the EU’s Export Controls for Dual-Use Products: Balancing Security, Human Rights Concerns and the EU’s Digital Agenda”.

The expert discussion was based on the Commission’s proposal to reform the EC Dual-Use Regulation, implementing stricter export controls to safeguard human rights and to ensure more sustainable trade.

The session was attended by representatives of the European institutions, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Industry, and the Swedish Export Control Society, adding multiple perspectives and fruitful insights to the discussion.

Throughout the workshop, the speakers discussed the proposed amendments to the Regulation, their impact on the export industry and potential implementation problems that the European member states might have to face on the national level.

The European institutions and the German Federal Ministry agreed that the new Regulation represents an excellent ambition, adding value to already existing export control systems and triggering further harmonization of procedures across the EU. However, doubts were raised by representatives of national industries, emphasizing that broad terms such as “human rights” need to be further defined in order to establish a clear regulative framework. An asymmetric implementation across member states and the lack of specific guidelines appeared to be the key concerns for the national industries. In the course of the discussion, broad agreement between all parties could be reached on the institutional necessity to specify the Regulation’s content and to educate national industries on how they will be affected by the Regulation’s amendments.

Johanna Fleger