April 3, 2013 - The long road to finalize a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty aimed at regulating legal international trade in conventional arms and combating illegal trade came to a successful end on 2nd April. After a two week long final negotiation in New York, under the very skilful leadership of the Chair of the negotiation, Ambassador Woolcott from Australia, the conference agreed on a treaty text which was put forward to and subsequently voted through, with an overwhelming majority, in the UN General Assembly.
ASD believes the Treaty will raise the bar for the regulation of the trade in conventional arms globally. The Treaty will apply a set of prohibitions and other criteria that are very familiar to European industry, which already operates to higher control standards than those called for under an Arms Trade Treaty. It will also introduce measures specifically aimed at preventing the diversion of conventional arms to the illicit market and encourage States that are Party to the Treaty to exchange information on illicit activities. Industry welcomes this. “We do not want the legitimate trade to be tarnished in any way by the diversion of conventional arms to embargoed destinations, nor for use in acts that would violate international law”, said Gert Runde, Secretary General of ASD. He added, "We also welcome the fact that the Treaty is agreed by most member states - 154 of 193 voted for - and that provides the best basis for securing the signatures of all states, particularly the major current and future arms exporters".
The Treaty’s provisions will be implemented at a national level but are, importantly, also consistent with the EU internal market. The provisions will not increase the administrative burden on European industry. They will, however, drive higher standards of regulation in countries that currently don’t operate comprehensive controls. ASD sees this as a positive step. Increasing the number of countries operating common standards of control will provide more predictability and confidence for organisations that operate in a global market place and with global supply chains. A global solution is required to address this.
ASD has, since the start of the UN process in 2006, followed and supported the work, including having representation in New York throughout the different negotiation phases, in order to achieve a treaty that takes into account the particular concerns of the European Aerospace and Defence industry. The role of industry is also noted in the Treaty.
Welcoming the close cooperation with European governments as a model for future work, Gert Runde, added: “From our point of view this is a historic event setting a landmark in global standards for export control, governing the legal global trade in conventional arms - one that we welcome and support. We especially appreciate that Industry now is included in the treaty as an important player to raise awareness and contribute to the implementation.”