The Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) is an alliance of States with the aim of pre-venting the destabilising accumulation of conventional weapons and dual-use goods that contribute to them.
What are dual-use goods?
Dual-use means that the goods in question can be used for both civilian and military purposes. The term goods includes commodities, technologies and software. Dual-use goods are listed in Annex 2 of the Goods Control Ordinance.
What is military equipment?
In Switzerland, a distinction is made when implementing the WA list of military equipment between war materiel as defined in the War Materiel Act and specific military goods as defined in the Goods Control Act.
Weapons, weapons systems, ammunition, military explosives and equipment that has been specifically conceived or modified for use in combat or for the conduct of combat and which is not normally used for civilian purposes are considered to be war materiel. This also applies to individual components and assembly packages, provided it is discernible that such components cannot be used in the same form for civilian purposes. The list of war materiel can be found in Annex 1 of the War Materiel Ordinance.
Specific military goods
Specific military goods are those which have been designed or modified for military purposes but which are neither weapons, ammunition or explosives nor any other means of combat or warfare as well as military training aircraft with suspension points. The list of specific military goods can be found in Annex 3 of the Goods Control Ordinance.
The WA emerged in 1996 from the Cold War-era Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls (CoCom) and aims to contribute to regional and international security and stability. The WA promotes transparency and responsible behaviour in the export of conventional arms and dual-use goods and thereby seeks to prevent destabilising accumulations of conventional weapons.
The WA is not an international organisation based on a legally binding treaty, but a politically binding export control regime, whose decisions are taken by consensus. The participating States have agreed to coordinate their national export controls, to adhere to uniform principles in the assessment of exports and to exchange information. The political agreement between participating States is laid down in the founding documents, to which the lists of dual-use goods and of military equipment (Munitions List) are attached. The lists are reviewed and adjusted during annual negotiations to ensure that they remain up to date.
Last modification 02.06.2021