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The main objectives of export controls at international level are compliance with international obligations, including penalties and restrictions imposed by the Security Council of the United Nations (UNSC), the European Union (EU) and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), respect for international humanitarian law and human rights, the maintenance of international and regional peace, security and stability, preventing the use of conventional arms by terrorist and criminal groups and the prevention of illegitimate distribution of conventional weapons and dual-use items and technologies .

In furtherance of international cooperation to limit illegal distribution of conventional weapons, their means of production and weapons of mass destruction, more than 40 countries have acceded to international export control regimes: the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Australia Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Committee "Zangger”. The purpose of these regimes is voluntary accession of States Parties to the generally accepted principles and rules of control and exchange of information on certain groups of items and technologies in order to avoid the risk of unauthorized use and distribution.

In Resolution 1540 the Security Council of the United Nations adopted on 28 April 2004, stipulates that all States shall take and enforce effective measures to establish domestic controls to prevent proliferation of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials and to this end, among others, establish control of transit and brokering. Related materials are materials, equipment and technology covered by relevant multilateral treaties and arrangements, or included in national control lists that can be used for design, development, production or use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means.

Member States are cooperate in the Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 laying down general rules governing export controls on military technology and equipment through the application of common criteria and mechanisms denial notification and consultation, in order to improve convergence in the application of their export policies towards third countries in terms of defense-related products.
At national level the principles of export control is bound to protect national security, economic and foreign policy interests.

It is desirable to achieve a uniform and consistent application of controls across the EU to improve the security of the EU and internationally.

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