The Wassenaar Arrangement and U.S. Export Law

The Wassenarr Arrangement and U.S. Export Law

The Wassenaar Agreement and U.S. Export Law are interrelated.  Because of this, businesses in the United States that engage in exports should be aware of these additional requirements to ensure compliance.

Origins of the Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement was established in July 1996 at the end of the cold war.  It was created to advance regional  and international security and stability.  It attempts to accomplish this stability by promoting transparency in the transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods. 

A plenary meeting occurs every 6 months on the deliveries and denials of munitions and dual-use goods and technologies.  Member states have agreed to a number of guidelines, elements, and procedures to establish a framework for their individual legislations and policies.  All participants have freedom to legislation and enforcement with regard to these policies at their own discretion.

Participating States

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.


The Wassenaar Arrangement Plenary is composed of all participating states and normally meets once a year in Vienna.  It is led by a rotating chair of members and is changed annually.  All decisions are made by consensus. 

The Plenary establishes subsidiary bodies for the preparation of recommendations.  These bodies include a General Working Group that deals with policy matters, and an Experts Group that refines issues with the lists of controlled items.  Additionally, a Licensing and Enforcement Officers Meeting occurs yearly.

Controlled Items

Controlled Items fall under two categories, the Munitions List and the List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies.  The Munitions List contains 22 categories of materiels for military usage including: small and light weapons and ammunition, military vehicles, armor and associated protective equipment, and aircraft and associated equipment.  The List of Dual Use Goods and Technologies is comprised of nine categories shown below:

  1. Special Materials and wassenaar arrangementRelated Equipment
  2. Material Processing
  3. Electronics
  4. Computers
  5. Telecommunications 
  6. Information Security
  7. Sensors and Lasers
  8. Marine
  9. Aerospace and Propulsion

*  In addition, the List contains a Sensitive List and a Very Sensitive List.

Wassenaar Arrangement and U.S. Businesses

As previously stated, the Wassenaar Agreement is not a treaty or regulatory agency.  Because of this all U.S. export compliance is enforced by the various U.S. agencies.  The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security for items falling under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) for items falling under the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

The BIS does have reporting requirements for certain commodities controlled under the Wassenaar Arrangement.  These reports must be submitted to the BIS semi-annually for exports but does not include reexports. 

Furthermore, accurate supporting record of these exports must be maintained. These requirements can be found in 15 CFR § 743.1. Requirements include:

  • ·       Exports authorized under License Exemptions GBS, CIV, TSR, LVS, APP and the cooperating government portions (15 CFR § 740) of the EAR.
  • ·       Exceptions authorized under the Validated End-User Authorization (15 CFR § 748.15 of the EAR).
  • ·       Exports authorized under the License Exemption STA (15 CFR § 740.20 of the EAR).

CFR 15 § 740 License Exceptions

Part 740 deals with Commerce and Foreign Trade License Exceptions.  The above listed Exemptions are as follows:

  • ·       GBS – Shipment to Government B Countries (15 § 740 Supplement 1)
  • ·       CIV – Civil End Users
  • ·       TSR – Technology and Software Under Restriction
  • ·       LVS – Shipments of Limited Value
  • ·       APP – Computers

CFR 15 § 748.15 Authorized Validated End User (VEU)

Validated End Users permits the export or reexport of eligible items that will be used in a specific eligible destination.  This allows end users who have an established track record of engaging in only civil activities to receive exports of specified items without the need for their suppliers to first obtain individual export or reexport licenses.

CFR 15 § 740.20 License Exception Strategic Trade Authorization (STA)

This section of the regulation deals with the authorization for export of a controlled item under defined conditions without a transaction-specific license as normally required by CFR § 742.  There are number of conditions that must be met including a Prior Consignee Statement for a period of five years.  Failure to meet compliance to the requirements for an STA can result in penalties.  Audits are common and often include queries into foreign cosignees.

CVG Strategy

CVG Strategy is a proven leader in helping businesses with Export Compliance.  Our export compliance experts can assist with establishing ITAR compliance programs through assessment, education, and auditing.   Check out our ITAR Seminar schedule for opportunities to learn the intricacies of these regulations.

We can also provide Export Control Classifications for ensure compliance to the Export Administration Regulations.  We understand the complexities of Commerce and Foreign Trade Regulations and are here to help.

How Can We Help?

CVG Strategy supports businesses and organizations with Quality Management Systems, Test and Evaluation, Cybersecurity and Export Compliance. 

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