Mar 25, 2023
Germany Wants EU To Place End-User Controls On Sanctioned Tech
(Bloomberg) -- Germany wants European Union nations to introduce end-user controls on technological and electronic goods that Russia could be using for military purposes in Ukraine, the country’s economy minister said.
After successive rounds of export restrictions, the EU and its allies are increasingly focused on clamping down on the circumvention of sanctions. Trade data shows that hundreds of types of goods such as advanced semi-conductors, integrated circuits and other technologies used by Moscow on the battlefield in Ukraine could be making their way to Russia via third countries.
While exports from the EU and Group of Seven nations to Russia have collapsed since sanctions were introduced, shipments of restricted goods to several countries, including Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Kazakhstan, have surged, and in turn exports from those countries to Russia have spiked significantly.
Read more: Russia Is Getting Round Sanctions to Buy Key Chips for Its War
“We have looked at the export data for many states of the former Soviet Union, and many of the countries bordering Russia. It is very, very striking with the movement of lorries over the years, and all of a sudden it has quadrupled since the beginning of the sanctions,” Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters Friday in Copenhagen. “You have to be very, very gullible to say that there is no connection.”
The EU is set to ask a number of countries for enhanced monitoring on hundreds of types of goods that could be used for military purposes in order to better track those trade flows, Bloomberg previously reported. Turkey earlier this month stopped the transit of sanctioned goods to Russia but concerns remain that the measure doesn’t cover items sold into the Turkish market that could eventually be re-exported onto Russia in future.
Read more: EU to Ask for Enhanced Trade Monitoring of Sanctioned Tech
End-user controls and certificates, which are typically used for weapons exports, would introduce obligations on buyers and sellers by certifying the recipient of a good and impeding onward sales to third parties without prior permission.
“We immediately identified measures, one of which would be to introduce an end-use control for such dual-use goods. We usually only do that for military goods,” said Habeck, who’s also Germany’s vice chancellor. “So the companies that sell them must then be able to say, where are they? That would stop it,” he said. “The way to implement this would be through another European sanctions package. That is what we want.”
Habeck acknowledged that the legal considerations of such a move across the EU would need to be addressed given the different rules across the bloc, but he said that shouldn’t be an excuse. “It seems obvious to me that we cannot accept this,” the German economy minister said.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday that the EU’s next sanctions package would focus on the circumvention of sanctions.
--With assistance from Jorge Valero and Michael Nienaber.
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