Five myths of state control of dual-use goods


Are you an entrepreneur and deal only with goods that have no relation to weapons? Do not be so sure of that: there is an extensive list of ‘dual-use’ goods, which can be used to produce weapons while being also used for peaceful purposes. Export and (sometimes) import of such goods requires a complicated bureaucratic procedure without any guarantee of positive results.

Less than two weeks ago, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine decided to remove 53 groups of goods from the Ukrainian List of dual-use goods making it a little closer to international standards in this area and simplifying the life of domestic enterprises.

This decision has not been published yet, but there are many myths created around it (mostly by government bodies involved) to stop the reforming process. I hope this reform will be finally accomplished, but now let me present five most common myths about dual-use goods to reduce the level of manipulation on this topic.

Myth 1. The List was created based on our national interests and its reducing will harm national security

In fact, the List was created and adopted based on interests of the international community with a view to prevent the use of dual-use goods to produce weapons abroad.

Of course, we should follow international precautions, but remember that a direct economic interest of Ukraine is to make this List as short as possible to enable Ukrainian enterprises to export the largest possible range of goods abroad, create jobs and receive foreign exchange earnings.

Myth 2. The List meets international standards

International lists of dual-use goods are annually updated. This is natural: products with characteristics that impressed experts in 2010 are often no longer surprising even for schoolchildren. The Ukrainian list of dual-use goods has not been updated and has not taken in account technological developments since 2010. Currently, it is extremely outdated while being an unjustified barrier to trade.

Myth 3. Ukraine included goods, which are not provided by international lists, in the List, and that’s fine  

Theoretically, including own national points in the list is really a normal international practice for countries, which put their concern on trafficking in weapons abroad above their economic interests.

However, Ukraine not only included additional goods in the List at the expense of own economic interests: we also added goods that are not related to dual use to this List. For example, endoscopes or X-ray systems – they can not be used to make weapons and no one can explain why they were included in the List. Adding miniature cameras and camera recorders to the List makes it impossible to create modern enterprises producing electronic devices in Ukraine.

Myth 4. Reducing the List will lead to the uncontrolled distribution of special tools (e.g. for wiretapping) in Ukraine

There are existing licensing procedures to sell goods for special purposes in Ukraine. In other words, removing these goods from the List means just the abolition of duplicate regulation. Licenses for importers/sellers/users still remain in effect.

Myth 5. Reduced control will allow foreigners to wiretap, for example, Angela Merkel by using Ukrainian equipment  

If Germany feared the wiretapping devices produced abroad, it would initiated making additions to the relevant international list or controlled imports of such goods on its border.

Ukraine should not worry about other countries when not wanted.

And, finally, we are patriots for sure, but to wiretap Angela Merkel… by using Ukrainian equipment… Well, you understand.