Australia, Denmark, Norway, United States Undertake Export Control and Human Rights Initiative – International Law

Worldwide: Australia, Denmark, Norway and United States undertake export control and human rights initiative

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On December 10, 2021, the United States joined Australia, Denmark and Norway in announcing the Export Control and Human Rights Initiative, recognizing that “advanced technologies are a essential element of global economic growth and communication, helping people to become more interconnected, to share knowledge, and to advance freedom, democracy and opportunity “while recognizing that authoritarian governments use these technologies” in the part of serious human rights violations, both within their country and beyond international borders ”. In the joint statement announcing the initiative, these countries declared that “the legitimate trade in these technologies and their responsible use are essential for the well-being of our future generations”. The countries announced that over the next year they would commit to work towards establishing a voluntary, non-binding written code of conduct “around which like-minded states could commit politically to use export control tools to prevent the proliferation of software and other technologies used to enable serious human rights violations.

The Export Controls and Human Rights Initiative will seek to address export controls and human rights by:

  • Develop a voluntary written code of conduct to guide the application of human rights criteria to export licensing policy and practice.
  • Build policy alignment with like-minded partners that leads to joint action and concrete, practical results.
  • Bring together policy makers, technical experts, and export control and human rights practitioners to ensure that critical and emerging technologies work for, not against, democratic societies.
  • Explore the best way to strengthen national legal frameworks; share information on threats and risks; share, develop and implement best practices; and improve the ability of others to do the same.

An information sheet on the initiative is available here. Although they did not sign the joint declaration, Canada, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have expressed their support for the Initiative.

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BIS seeks public comment on US-EU cooperation on export controls

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On November 30, 2021, the Department of Commerce’s Office of Industry and Safety (BIS) published a Notice of Investigation in the Federal Register seeking public comment on areas and priorities for cooperation in export control between the United States and the European Union (EU).

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