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The Participating States of the Wassenaar Arrangement are:

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 has been established in order to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilising accumulations. Participating States seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, and are not diverted to support such capabilities. The aim is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.

Participating States apply export controls to all items set forth in the List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies and the Munitions List, with the objective of preventing unauthorized transfers or re-transfers of those items.

To assist in developing common understandings of transfer risks, Participating States regularly exchange information of both a general and a specific nature. Participating States are required to report their arms transfers and transfers/denials of certain dual-use goods and technologies to destinations outside the Arrangement on a six-monthly basis. In some cases, shorter reporting time-frames apply.

In fulfilling the purposes of the Arrangement as described above, Participating States have, inter alia, agreed to a number of guidelines, elements and procedures as a basis for decision-making through the application of their own national legislation and policies.

The decision to transfer or deny the transfer of any item is the sole responsibility of each Participating State. All measures with respect to the Arrangement are taken in accordance with national legislation and policies and are implemented on the basis of national discretion. For specifics on Export Controls in Participating States National Contacts.

Representatives of Participating States meet regularly in Vienna where the Wassenaar Arrangement has established its headquarters and a small Secretariat.

The Wassenaar Arrangement Plenary is the decision-making body of the Arrangement. It is composed of representatives of all Participating States and normally meets once a year, usually in December. The position of Plenary Chair is subject to annual rotation among Participating States. All Plenary decisions are taken by consensus.

The Plenary establishes subsidiary bodies for the preparation of recommendations for Plenary decisions and calls ad hoc meetings for consultations on issues related to the functioning of the Wassenaar Arrangement. At present, the main Wassenaar Arrangement subsidiary bodies are: the General Working Group (GWG) dealing with policy-related matters, and the Experts Group (EG) addressing issues related to the lists of controlled items. Once a year, a Licensing and Enforcement Officers Meeting (LEOM) is held.

Vienna Points of Contact (VPOC) are called for periodic meetings under the Plenary Chair to facilitate intersessional information flow and communications between/among Participating States and the Secretariat.

The current Head of Secretariat is Ambassador Philip Griffiths (New Zealand).


The Wassenaar Arrangement:

  • Contributes to regional and international security and stability
  • Promotes transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies
  • Complements and reinforces the export control regimes for weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems
  • Is not directed against any state or group of states
  • Uses export controls as a means to combat terrorism

The founding document of the Wassenaar Arrangement is known as the “Initial Elements”. The Initial Elements were originally established in 1996 and set out the purposes and scope of the Arrangement. They also cover the Wassenaar Arrangement’s approach on:

  • Control Lists
  • Procedures for the General Information Exchange
  • Procedures for the Exchange of Information on Arms
  • Procedures for the Exchange of Information on Dual-Use Goods and Technology
  • Meetings and Administration
  • Participation
  • Confidentiality

How the WA works

The WA Participating States:

  • have agreed to maintain national export controls on items included in the WA Control Lists. These controls are implemented via national legislation;
  • are guided by agreed Best Practices, Guidelines or Elements;
  • have agreed to report on transfers and denials of specified controlled items to destinations outside the Arrangement;
  • exchange information on sensitive dual-use goods and technologies.

The Wassenaar Arrangement Control Lists

Munitions List

Contains 22 main entries on items designed for military use, including certain items within the categories such as (but not limited to):

  • Small Arms & Light Weapons (and related ammunition);
  • Tanks and other Military Armed Vehicles;
  • Armoured/Protective Equipment,
  • Aircraft & Unmanned Airborne Vehicles, Aero Engines & related equipment (for comprehensive details please refer to the ‘Munitions List’ on the Wassenaar Arrangement Website).

List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies

General Technology and General Software Notes

Category 1– Special Materials and Related Equipment

Category 2 – Material Processing

Category 3 – Electronics

Category 4 – Computers

Category 5 – Part 1 – Telecommunications

Category 5 – Part 2 – Information Security

Category 6 – Sensors and Lasers

Category 7 – Navigation and Avionics

Category 8 – Marine

Category 9 – Aerospace and Propulsion

Sensitive List (SL)

Very Sensitive List (VSL)

Scope of Reporting
(For details, see the Initial Elements – Sections II/4, V and VI.)

Arms transfer notifications

  • Battle Tanks
  • Armoured Combat Vehicles
  • Large Calibre Artillery Systems
  • Military Aircraft / Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
  • Military and Attack Helicopters
  • Warships
  • Missiles or Missile Systems
  • Small Arms and Light Weapons, including MANPADS

(as defined in Appendix 3 to the Initial Elements)

Dual-Use transfer/denial notifications
See the:

  • Dual-Use List including the Sensitive List and the Very Sensitive List – for items subject to reporting; and
  • Appendix 2 to the Initial Elements – for notifications content.


In light of the end of the Cold War, members of the former COCOM1 export control regime recognised that COCOM’s East-West focus was no longer the appropriate basis for export controls. There was a need to establish a new arrangement to deal with risks to regional and international security and stability related to the spread of conventional weapons and dual-use goods and technologies. Accordingly, on 16 November 1993, in The Hague, at a High Level Meeting (HLM), representatives of the 17 COCOM member states agreed to terminate COCOM, and establish a new multilateral arrangement, temporarily known as the “New Forum”.

This decision was confirmed at a further HLM in Wassenaar, Netherlands on 29-30 March 1994. COCOM ceased to exist on 31 March, 1994. Participating states also agreed to continue the use of the COCOM control lists as a basis for global export controls on a national level until the new arrangement could be established. At this time the former COCOM cooperating countries, namely, Austria, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland, were included as participating states in the “New Forum”. With the objective of starting a new arrangement as soon as possible, three Working Groups were established. Working Group 1 was mandated to develop goals, rules and procedures for the new arrangement. Working Group 2 was tasked with developing the lists of goods and technologies that would be controlled, while the third Working Group was tasked to deal with administrative matters.

The Russian Federation, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the Slovak Republic were welcomed as participating states at the HLM held on 11-12 September 1995 in Wassenaar. With this major milestone accomplished, the Working Groups were urged to expedite their work.

Agreement to establish the “Wassenaar Arrangement” was reached at the HLM held on 19 December 1995, again in Wassenaar, and this was announced with a declaration issued at the Peace Palace in The Hague. At this time there was also agreement to locate the Secretariat in Vienna and establish a Preparatory Committee of the Whole to prepare for the first plenary meeting.

The inaugural Plenary Meeting of the Wassenaar Arrangement was held 2-3 April 1996 in Vienna, Austria. Argentina, the Republic of Korea and Romania were welcomed as additional founding members. Consensus could not be reached on all issues, so the meeting was suspended to provide time to resolve the outstanding issues.

On 11-12 July 1996, the Plenary Meeting resumed, with Bulgaria and Ukraine participating, to make a total of 33 founding members. Final consensus on the “Initial Elements”, the basic document of the WA, was reached and it was established that the new Control Lists and Information Exchange would be implemented from 1 November 1996. The first Plenary Meeting of the now operational Wassenaar Arrangement was held on 12-13 December 1996 in Vienna.



1Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Controls


What is the origin of the name “Wassenaar Arrangement”?

The name comes from Wassenaar, a suburb of the Hague, the Netherlands, where an agreement was reached in 1995 to start a new type of multilateral co-operation.

When was the Wassenaar Arrangement established?

The Wassenaar Arrangement became operational in 1996, after the adoption of the Initial Elements at the July 1996 Plenary.

How many countries participate in the Wassenaar Arrangement?

The Wassenaar Arrangement is presently composed of 42 countries.

How are Wassenaar Arrangement decisions taken?

All decisions are taken by consensus and the deliberations are kept in confidence.

How are regulations on export controls implemented in the Wassenaar Arrangement?

Export controls are implemented by each individual Wassenaar Arrangement Participating State. Although the scope of export controls in Participating States is determined by Wassenaar Arrangement lists, practical implementation varies from country to country in accordance with national procedures.
For more information please refer to the respective national authorities by clicking on “National Contacts

When do Wassenaar Arrangement Meetings take place?

Its decision-making body, the Plenary, normally meets once a year in December. Subsidiary bodies meet periodically.

Where is the Wassenaar Arrangement Secretariat located?

The Secretariat is located in Vienna (Austria). Most Wassenaar Arrangement meetings are held in the Secretariat.

What is the Working Language of the Wassenaar Arrangement?

The working language of the Wassenaar Arrangement is English and no official translations in other languages are provided by the Secretariat.
For more information please refer to the respective national authorities by clicking on “National Contacts


For more information please refer to the respective national authorities by clicking on “National Contacts”.


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