The Office of Nuclear and Missile Technology Controls (NMT) administers U.S. multilateral and unilateral export controls on items related to nuclear and missile technology. The United States is a member of both the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), international groups whose focus is to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. NMT represents the Department in international negotiations on the export controls that are shared by member-nations of the NSG and MTCR. NMT is also responsible for all policy actions, export licenses, commodity classifications, and advisory opinions pertaining to items subject to nuclear and missile technology controls.
Following the 1974 explosion of a nuclear device by India, the United States proposed the formation of the NSG and initially approached six other major supplier states -- Canada, Germany, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union -- to create an informal group of nations concerned with the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The NSG was formally established in 1992; its membership now totals 35 member-countries.
Two documents guide NSG members in establishing national controls: the Guidelines and the Annex. The NSG Guidelines establish the underlying precepts of the regime, and provide a degree of order and predictability among suppliers, ensuring harmonized standards and interpretations of NSG controls. The Guidelines also call for consultations among members on sensitive cases to ensure that transfers do not contribute to risks of conflict and instability.
The Annex is the actual list of 70 categories of items subject to NSG controls. The Annex also contains a General Technology Note, which ensures that exports of technology directly associated with listed items will be subject to the same degree of scrutiny and control as the items themselves. NSG members are required to establish national licensing procedures for the transfer of Annex items. The NSG proceeds on the basis of consensus.
Since the early 1990s, formal annual plenary meetings have been held to provide the opportunity for multilateral consultations. The Plenary also provides the opportunity for members to review the Annex and the Guidelines to ensure that NSG controls are focused on truly sensitive nuclear technology, and that they provide the means to meet evolving nuclear proliferation challenges.
BXA Under Secretary Reinsch delivered the keynote address at the 2nd International NSG Transparency Seminar, entitled "The Role of Export Controls in Nuclear Nonproliferation," at the United Nations in New York City on April 8-9, 1999. The seminar was one in a series that will demonstrate the openness and transparency of the NSG. The seminar provided an opportunity for states and non-governmental organizations, both within and outside the NSG, to pose questions, raise topics, and exchange views on nuclear export controls.
BXA continued in its efforts to establish a level playing field for U.S. exporters by proposing that the NSG adopt parts and components rules. Under the proposal, certain NSG Dual Use Annex entries will identify the individual parts and components of the controlled items that will also be controlled. The proposal, currently under review in the NSG, will not result in placing a significant number of new items under U.S. control; many are already subject to U.S. controls pursuant to other multilateral control regimes. What this proposal will do is enable U.S. exporters to compete equitably in the international marketplace with their foreign competitors.
The NSG held its annual Plenary Session in Florence, Italy, on May 5-6. Agreement was reached at the plenary to continue NSG outreach and transparency initiatives; to consider establishing an Internet Website; to enhance the usefulness of its electronic information sharing efforts among all NSG members; to establish working groups to clarify component controls (in response to the U.S. proposal noted above), and to study improvements in the effectiveness of the regime. The NSG also collectively agreed on the importance of keeping pace with technological change, noting that intangible technology transfers were an area of concern deserving intensified consultation among members. It was also agreed that contacts with Turkey, Belarus, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, and Slovenia should be pursued regarding future NSG membership.
BXA continues to report license denials for NSG dual use controlled items as part of the "no undercut" policy. Under this policy, a denial notification received from an NSG member country should be honored by other member countries, thereby assuring that the earlier denial is not undercut by approvals of similar transactions. There are procedures for member countries to consult on specific denials if they wish to disagree with the original denial decision. BXA has also been active in reporting "catch all" denials for uncontrolled items destined to end users of proliferation concern.
On April 16, 1987, the United States and its G-7 trading partners created the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), whose focus is to limit the proliferation of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. The MTCR is not a treaty-based regime, but rather an informal group of 32 countries that have agreed to coordinate their national export controls to help prevent missile proliferation.
The MTCR Guidelines and the Equipment and Technology Annex form the basis for U.S. missile technology controls. The Guidelines provide licensing policy, procedures, review factors, and standard assurances on missile technology exports. The Annex is the list of items of missile-related commodities subject to controls, and is divided into two categories. Category I items include missile subsystems, production facilities, and production equipment for missile systems capable of delivering a 500 kg payload to a range of at least 300 km. Category II items include missiles with a 300 km range, regardless of payload, and the major subsystems, production facilities, production and test equipment, materials, and components of missile delivery systems.
NMT is responsible for administering controls on exports of dual use manufacturing equipment for Category I items and on all dual use items in Category II. A considerable portion of the license applications reviewed for missile-related concerns are for commercial aviation exports, including avionics, navigation, telemetry, composite materials, and test equipment.
The MTCR holds a Reinforced Point-of-Contact meeting each year where representatives from MTCR member countries are invited to meet to discuss a limited agenda of issues derived from the monthly MTCR Point-of-Contact meetings. The monthly Point-of-Contact meetings are attended by the MTCR member countries' embassy personnel stationed in Paris, France. This year's annual Reinforced Point-of-Contact meeting was held in Paris on June 3-4, and focused on national approaches to counter regional missile proliferation in South Asia, North Asia, and the Middle East.
The MTCR also held an export control workshop on intangible technology transfers in Munich, Germany, on June 21-23. The workshop focused on such issues as industrial visits and the employment of foreign nationals, and technology transfers via electronic means, i.e., e-mail and the Internet. BXA gave presentations on U.S. policies and procedures on intangible technology exports and the applicability of intangible technology controls on scientific, academic, technical, and industrial organizations.
The U.S.-U.K. proposal to reformat the MTCR Annex -- to conform it with the control lists of the other multilateral regimes and thereby enhance overall compliance with and enforcement of all nonproliferation export controls -- was agreed to by all MTCR members in February 1999. However, a hold on final approval was imposed by one MTCR member pending resolution of a definitional issue. BXA successfully negotiated an acceptable compromise, and the hold was finally lifted effective July 21, 1999. The reformatted Annex is now fully entered into force by all MTCR members.
When the U.S. government became aware that Iraq, on the eve of the Persian Gulf War, had enhanced its weapons of mass destruction capability by obtaining imported goods that were exempt from a licensing requirement, President Bush announced the Enhanced Proliferation Control Initiative (EPCI) in December 1990. EPCI led to the imposition of chemical, biological, and missile end use and end user-based controls that were similar to the nuclear end use and end user-based controls already in effect. The EAR requires that exporters obtain a license for export of an item, even if one is not normally required, if the exporter knows or is informed by BXA that the export will be used in nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons or missiles or facilities engaged in such activities. U.S. persons are also restricted from activities in support of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons or missile-related projects. These regulations are designed to prevent exports that could make a material contribution to proliferation projects of concern, but are not intended to affect legitimate commercial trade.
EPCI began as a U.S. unilateral control, but with U.S. leadership, a large majority of our nonproliferation regime partners have also incorporated so-called "catch-all" export controls. At present, virtually all of the NSG and MTCR member countries have some form of catch-all controls, and the United States continues to encourage other countries to adopt similar measures. Information exchanges on EPCI export denials have also enhanced multilateral awareness of proliferation projects of concern.
BXA publishes an EPCI "Entity List" as part of the EAR. Initiated as part of the EPCI clarification project recommended by the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee chaired by the late Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown, publication of the names of the entities involved in proliferation activities in the EAR provides exporters with better information with on the basis of which to conduct international business.
Beyond the routine contacts that are a necessary part of the export licensing process, NMT's staff participated at many industry briefings, trade association seminars, and one-on-one consultations with exporters to clarify the scope of U.S. nuclear and missile technology controls. These efforts promote U.S. exports by reassuring buyer and seller alike of the legitimacy of proposed export sales, and advise the participants in the transaction of their export control obligations.
NMT's staff also actively engages in bilateral and multilateral consultations with our trading partners who share our nonproliferation goals, and with countries who do not yet have export control systems in place. In the last year, NMT participated in numerous consultations under the auspices of the multilateral control regimes and in support of BXA's overall international outreach effort to educate non-participatory countries about the benefits and obligations of export control cooperation.
Go to Chapter Five
In April of 2002 the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) changed its name to the Bureau of Industry and Security(BIS). For historical purposes we have not changed the references to BXA in the legacy documents found in the Archived Press and Public Information.