MFAT rachets up export prohibitions on goods and tech with military uses

Credit: Original article can be found here

Hamilton based Pacific Aerospace ran into trouble in 2017 after it sent aircraft parts to North Korea. Such exports may be more readily captured by new export controls.

Tom Lee/Waikato Times

Hamilton based Pacific Aerospace ran into trouble in 2017 after it sent aircraft parts to North Korea. Such exports may be more readily captured by new export controls.

New Zealand has ratcheted up a ban on exporting products and technology that could be used by militaries in countries that aren’t close allies.

The new prohibitions, due to come into effect on October 8, are aimed at stopping the export of products that pose “security, political or reputational risks” to New Zealand, and come amid growing concern that Kiwi companies have sold goods and technology to foreign militaries.

Marine and aerospace components, IT and communication tools, health technology that could be used in military hospitals, and food and beverage products that might be bought by militaries overseas, could all be captured by the greater prohibitions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) announced the changes to export controls on Friday, saying in a statement the prior prohibitions had been insufficient.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been concerned about companies exporting products which have possible military use, threatening New Zealand’s reputation.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been concerned about companies exporting products which have possible military use, threatening New Zealand’s reputation.

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Previously, companies were prohibited from exporting military goods and “dual-use items”, products which could serve civilian or military purposes, to countries under a United Nations (UN) arms embargo – including Iran, Lebanon, Libya and North Korea.

A breach of this prohibition occurred in 2016, when Hamilton-based aeroplane manufacturer Pacific Aerospace indirectly exported aircraft parts to North Korea, breaking UN sanctions.

The company pleaded guilty to three charges of unlawfully exporting to the hermit state and was fined $74,000 in 2018.

MFAT, in a Cabinet briefing paper about the export control changes, said it had “become clear” that New Zealand companies were exporting civilian products and technologies to countries outside the controls where there was a risk of the export being used by a military, or contributing to conflict and human rights abuses.

More controls were required as “deadlock” at the UN Security Council meant countries of concern, such as Syria, had not been placed on the arms embargo list, MFAT said.

“Even if the [UN Security] Council were more functional, its arms embargoes would never extend to the full list of countries of potential concern,” a briefing papers reads.

The new prohibitions ban the export of “good or electronic publications” which may directly or indirectly be used for nuclear arms, biological and chemical weapons, military use including civilian goods which might have a military application, and for terrorist acts.

More than 10 countries considered allies of New Zealand have been exempted from the controls, including Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, European Union nations, and the United States of America.

Exemptions to the prohibitions could be sought from the secretary of foreign affairs and trade.

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