Export Controls:

Some Controls Over Missile-Related Technology Exports to China Are Weak

NSIAD-95-82: Published: Apr 17, 1995. Publicly Released: May 17, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and U.S. missile technology-related exports to the Peoples' Republic of China, focusing on the: (1) extent to which dual-use and missile technologies are exported to sensitive end-users; (2) U.S. government's ability to monitor China's compliance with the U.S.-China bilateral agreement; and (3) effectiveness of U.S. sanctions imposed on China.

GAO found that: (1) for fiscal years 1990 through 1993, the U.S. government approved 67 export licenses worth about $530 million for missile-related technology items exported to China; (2) such export licenses accounted for less than one percent of all special licenses for exports to China; (3) the Department of Defense (DOD) is concerned that the Department of Commerce might not be identifying or seeking interagency concurrence on all potential missile-technology export license applications; (4) DOD does not have an interagency agreement with Commerce regarding which export applications should be referred for comments; (5) existing licensing procedures and monitoring controls cannot ensure that most missile-technology and dual-use exports are kept from sensitive end users, but controls on satellite-related exports appear to be adequate; (6) U.S. government agencies do not share all the information they have on sensitive end users in China; (7) the lack of Chinese cooperation has made end-use monitoring of export licenses only marginally effective; (8) Commerce does not require monitoring cooperation before it grants an export license; (9) although China has recently accepted more stringent MTCR requirements, it does not accept the revised MTCR guidelines and annex; and (10) there are no criteria for measuring the effectiveness of proliferation sanctions imposed on China.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, State, and Defense, and the Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, should use licensing information contained in dual use license reports to establish mutually acceptable criteria and guidelines for selection of other licenses for interagency review.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: New review and referral procedures were set forth in an Executive Order that essentially satisfied the intent of the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, State, and Defense, and the Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, should use licensing information contained in dual use license reports to establish mutually acceptable criteria and guidelines for selection of other licenses for interagency review.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: New review and referral procedures were set forth in an Executive Order that essentially satisfied the intent of the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, State, and Defense, and the Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, should use licensing information contained in dual use license reports to establish mutually acceptable criteria and guidelines for selection of other licenses for interagency review.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: New review and referral procedures were set forth in an Executive Order that essentially satisfied the intent of the recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, State, and Defense, and the Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, should use licensing information contained in dual use license reports to establish mutually acceptable criteria and guidelines for selection of other licenses for interagency review.

    Agency Affected: United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: New review and referral procedures were set forth in an Executive Order that essentially satisfied the intent of the recommendation.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the appropriate licenses are referred to the Missile Technology Export Controls group, the Secretary of Commerce should provide periodic reports to the interagency group on those dual-use licenses for China whose commodities are classified under Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) containing items subject to missile technology controls. The reports should include, as a minimum, license numbers and ECCN, names of the end-user and/or ultimate consignee, end-use descriptions, and descriptions of the commodities to be licensed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: New review and referral procedures were set forth in an Executive Order that obviates the need for the report.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should establish criteria to determine under what conditions approval of dual-use technology exports to China should be conditioned on the successful performance of pre-license checks. Such criteria might include the nature and proliferation credentials of the end user, the potential end-uses of the commodities to be exported, or the favorable outcome of the check.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Commerce has established criteria based on timeliness (with a 60-day deadline).

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