Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies

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For more information, see: Export controls.

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, created in 1995 in the Dutch town of Wassenaar, near The Hague, is a "voluntary agreement" rather than a "treaty", but has been signed by many countries that believe its provisions will improve international safety and stability.[1] Its declared scope covers:

  • production or export of weapons, or goods and technologies that have dual-use both for military and peaceful applications arms or associated dual-use goods and technologies;
  • national policies forbidding the sale of arms or sensitive dual-use items to countries whose behavior is a cause for concern;
  • compliance with international nonproliferation norms and guidelines

At the intersection of technology, international economics and international relations, it replaces the earlier Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM) and the control systems those member nations established. To be in compliance with Wassenaar, it is a practical necessity to also subscribe to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

A wide number of other treaties may be relevant to a nation attempting to comply with the Arrangement, including the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, Biological Weapons and Toxins Convention, etc. There may be agreements relevant to specific regions, such as the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions in Europe or several nuclear-free zone arrangements.

One controversial aspect of this arrangement is whether it applies to cryptographic devices or software used in communications security.


  1. Introduction, Wassenaar Arrangement