“Dual-use goods: what are they and why are new rules needed?”

EUROPE (March 26, 2021)–the European Parliament is scheduled to vote on dual-use rules which could be misused by military, regimes and terrorist. The EU is working on new export rules for so-called dual-use goods to prevent them being misused in human rights violations.

What are dual-use goods?

Dual-use products are goods designed for civilian use that in the wrong hands could be used to surpress human rights or launch terrorist attacks. They can be anything from drones to chemicals.

Although these goods can improve people’s lives, they can be misused. Authoritarian regimes might use them to keep the population under control, while terrorist groups could use them to stage attacks.

“Parliament’s perseverance and assertiveness against a blockade by some member states has paid off: respect for human rights will become an export standard. The revised regulation updates European export controls and adapts to technological progress, new security risks and information on human rights violations. It is an EU milestone, as export rules for surveillance technologies have been agreed for the first time. Economic interests must not take precedence over human rights.

“This new regulation, in addition to the one on conflict minerals and a future supply chain law, shows that we can shape globalisation according to a clear set of values and binding rules to protect human and labour rights and the environment. This must be the blueprint for future rule-based trade policy”, the leader of the Parliamentary delegation said last year..

Why are new rules needed?

To prevent dual-use goods being repurposed in ways that violate human rights , the EU wants to make sure strict export rules prevent them being sold to people or organisations wanting to misuse them.

The EU is currently working on an update of the existing rules to take into account recent technological developments, including new cyber surveillance tools, and beef up protection of human rights.

What is the next step?

The Council and the Parliament have provisionally agreed on the new rules, but both need to officially approve them before they can enter into force.

MEPs will debate the new rules and vote on them on Thursday 25 March.

Read more about how the EU’s trade policy helps to promote human rights

Source:European Parliament

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