Tracking Number:  225006

Title:  "Understanding the Missile Technology Control Regime." Overview of the Missile Technology Control Regime, the 1987 agreement for managing missile proliferation. (920423)

Date:  19920423


04/23/92 *

UNDERSTANDING THE MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGIME (Second article in the series on MTCR) (1420) By Jane A. Morse USIA Staff Writer What Is the Missile Technology Control Regime? Formed in 1987, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is unique in that it is currently the world's only multilateral system for managing missile proliferation. It seeks to limit the spread of missiles and unmanned air vehicles and delivery systems that are capable of carrying at least a 500-kilogram payload for a distance of at least 300 kilometers.

The regime consists of common export policy guidelines -- referred to as the Guidelines -- applied to a common list of controlled items called the Annex.

The Guidelines deal with controlling technology and equipment that could make a contribution to nuclear weapons delivery systems. The Guidelines are not designed to impede nonmilitary national space programs or international cooperation in such programs as long as these programs could not contribute to nuclear weapons delivery systems.

The Annex consists of two categories of equipment and technology. Category I items are of the greatest sensitivity. In this category are complete rocket systems (including ballistic missile systems, space launch vehicles, and sounding rockets) and unmanned air vehicle systems (including cruise missile systems, target and reconnaissance drones) capable of delivering payloads of 500 kilograms or more for a distance of at least 300 kilometers. Subsystems usable in the systems as well as specially designed production facilities for these systems and subsystems are also included in Category I.

Category II is comprised of a much longer list of items of lesser sensitivity that could be used in the systems and subsystems of Category I. Category II items include propellants and propulsion components, structural materials, certain types of computers, launch support equipment, and navigation, flight control and avionics equipment. The technology and means for producing some of these items is included under Category II as well.

The Guidelines and the Annex form the basis for controlling transfers of specified technology and equipment to any destination beyond the government's jurisdiction. The Guidelines call for restraint and case-by-case consideration for transfers of all the items contained in the Annex, but most especially those items in Category I.

The transfer of the production equipment and facilities for Category I items is flatly prohibited. The Guidelines establish a strong presumption of denial for Category I item transfers. A government can, however, choose to transfer Category I items when two conditions are met. First, the government supplying the goods must obtain a binding government-to-government assurance that the transferred item will not be used or modified for any other purpose than that agreed upon. Second, the government supplying an Annex-listed item must assume responsibility for taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the item is put only to its stated end-use.

The Guidelines acknowledge, however, that the final decision to transfer any item remains the sole and sovereign judgment of the government.

Implementing the MTCR: It is important to remember that the MTCR is not a treaty, neither is it an agreement in the technical sense. There is no central coordinating body to oversee and enforce the MTCR guidelines at any level -- either involving governments, businesses, or individuals.

The MTCR is a set of export guidelines that a country implements in accordance with its national legislation. For a country to adhere to the MTCR in any effective manner, it must have in place effective export control laws as well as systems for their implementation and enforcement.

Under U.S. law sanctions must be imposed on foreign entities that knowingly trade in items listed in the MTCR Annex that contribute to missile development in a country that is not an adherent to the MTCR. For transfers of Category I items, the sanction is a minimum 2-year ban on all dual-use and munitions licenses and U.S. government procurement. In addition, if a transfer substantially contributes to missile development in a country not adhering to the MTCR, an import ban on the offending entities (governments, businesses, individuals) is enacted.

Recently enacted U.S. legislation has broadened the scope of possible future sanctions against countries with non-market economies which are not former members of the Warsaw Treaty Organization. In missile proliferation cases involving such countries, under the new legislation the U.S. government would not sanction individual entities, it would be required to act against all of the offending government's activities related to missile equipment, technology, development, or production of electronics, space systems or equipment, and military aircraft.

U.S. government officials have acknowledged that sanctions can be unwieldy and difficult -- sometimes even painful -- to apply. Nonetheless, if used judiciously, sanctions have proved to be an effective method for securing cooperation on non-proliferation.

After the U.S. Congress passed missile and chemical/biological sanctions legislation, the United States provided detailed information on the new laws to all foreign countries. This in itself caused some countries to review their export control systems. The actual application of sanctions spurred other countries to get their exports under effective control. Among the countries where U.S. sanctions for missile sales have been imposed are China, Pakistan, South Africa, North Korea, and Iran.

While sanctions have their uses in discouraging missile proliferation, a careful reading of the MTCR Guidelines shows that more emphasis is placed on quiet diplomatic action than threats.

The MTCR Has Been Successful: The MTCR has gained strong international support, having grown from seven members in 1987 to 18 today.

Member countries at this time are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Portugal and Switzerland are conducting membership procedures that are expected to be completed in the very near future.

In addition, a number of countries, although not members of the Regime, have publicly announced their commitment to adhering to the MTCR Guidelines.

In 1991, Argentina announced the termination of its ballistic missile program and its intention to adopt the Guidelines, and Israel announced and took steps to implement its adherence to the Guidelines. In keeping with an agreement reached during Secretary Baker's November 1991 visit to Beijing, China announced on February 22 that it would observe the MTCR Guidelines in return for the lifting of U.S. missile sanctions imposed on China in June 1991.

Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have been the subject of intensified non-proliferation efforts because of the collapse of central controls and the temptations inherent in difficult economic circumstances. A major objective has been to sensitize these countries to the importance of non-proliferation and to persuade them to adopt appropriate export control and enforcement mechanisms. In this effort, the United States and the MTCR partner countries have been engaged in a long series of contacts.

The results in Eastern Europe have been highly encouraging. Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, and Bulgaria have already adopted or are in the process of adopting controls similar to those in the MTCR.

The states of the former Soviet Union -- among them Russia, Byelarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan -- appear to be receptive to the overtures of the United States and other MTCR countries to the ideals of non-proliferation and defense trade controls. So far, Russia has made the most progress in establishing an effective control system.

The MTCR has encouraged a number of countries to get out of the missile business. Brazil has renounced nuclear weapons ambitions. Argentina last year announced the termination of its Condor ballistic missile program. Egypt, too, reportedly has lost interest in the program. The Condor program depended heavily on technical support from more advanced industrial countries, and the MTCR framework has provided the means for eliminating sources for that assistance.

The MTCR is effective in two ways: It restrains countries from supplying missile technology and equipment, and, by limiting the sources, impedes and often prevents countries from getting the necessary technology and equipment needed for developing their own missiles.

The MTCR is not an exercise in keeping the "have not" countries from obtaining the same weapon systems for their own security that are enjoyed by the "have" countries. Rather, the MTCR is a valid effort to secure a stable world community based on the realization by a growing number of countries that the sale and transfer of missiles and their technology garners only marginal influence and is frequently counterproductive to their own security interests.

Next: MTCR and Asia; countries of special concern; international nonproliferation efforts.