Strategic Trade Controls Support Development and Security in East Africa

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Deputy Assistant Secretary Simon Limage of Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation today stressed that strategic trade controls can support development and security in East Africa.

In her remark at the “Promoting Regional Security And Development With International Security Assistance: A Legal-Regulatory Workshop,” Mr. Limage discussed how programs run by U.S department in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of State, can assist countries in East Africa.

“You have heard during today’s presentations about the security challenges facing East Africa, and you have heard about the global and regional nuclear proliferation challenges we are grappling with here and around the world. You have also heard a discussion about the opportunities surrounding UN Security Council Resolution 1540, and the potential for “dual-benefit” assistance that can address both security and development capacity-building objectives.” -Mr. Limage

He stressed that nowhere in the world is the nexus between security and development more complex than in East Africa. He said East African nations contend with a host of socio-economic and humanitarian problems, while simultaneously striving to overcome a variety of challenges to governance, development, defense, and security.

He stated that while there is increasing global competition for Africa’s resources and markets, competitive integration with the global economy would offer East Africa economic and technological opportunities to address many of these critical issues. He added that trade security is a pre-requisite for being able to compete more effectively in the global economy.

He said a comprehensive strategic trade control system is designed to answer four fundamental questions, the four “Ws” of strategic trade controls:

  • What are the dual-use or munitions goods being imported, exported, transited or transshipped through this territory?
  • Where is the transfer coming from, and where is it going?
  • Who is the end-user?
  • Why is this item acquired, and a related question: How will it be used?

    “If responses to any of these questions raise proliferation concerns, then we advise countries to develop a comprehensive strategic trade control system. This system enables countries to intercept such transfers before sensitive technologies fall into the wrong hands.” -Mr. Limage

    He emphasized that comprehensive strategic trade control system rests on several key principles. One is the establishment of a transparent and interagency-coordinated legal and regulatory system that identifies controlled dual-use and munitions items and comprehensively regulates their export, re-export, transit and transshipment in line with the guidelines and lists of the four multilateral regimes and relevant Security Council Resolutions.

    “Another key principle of a comprehensive strategic trade control system is effective enforcement, including means to detect, identify, interdict, seize and dispose of proliferation sensitive cargo. Enforcement should also include capabilities to successfully investigate customs and border security violations and prosecute the offenders.” -Mr. Limage

    He cited that the third principle of comprehensive strategic trade controls is a robust government-industry partnership, including government efforts to educate industry about its obligations and incentivize compliance.

    “Finally, the fourth key pillar of an effective strategic trade control system is cooperation and information exchange with international partners to ensure a timely and coordinated response to transnational proliferation threats.” -Mr. Limage

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