The Australia Group

Fighting the spread of chemical and biological weapons. Strengthening global security.

The Australia Group and Legitimate Trade

Australia Group participants see export licensing as a vital means of ensuring that legitimate trade in chemicals, biological agents, and related equipment can proceed unfettered. Careful regulation of potentially sensitive exports helps to reduce the risk that companies will unwittingly export products for use in CBW programs, and therefore attract severe penalties. This gives companies greater confidence to trade in products which have the potential to be used in the production of CBW.

Licensing measures resulting from the Australia Group's operations have a minimal impact on total trade in chemicals, biological agents and dual-use items and equipment. Export licences deter proliferation by increasing visibility of trade in relevant materials, and provide authority to stop a sale if the product concerned is likely to contribute to a CBW program. The licensing measures applied by Australia Group participants thus affect only sales to a small number of countries where there is evidence of an interest in developing or maintaining a CBW capacity or a risk of diversion to terrorists groups. The Group's activities are limited to non-proliferation measures, and are neither intended to favour the commercial development of industries in participating states, nor to hinder legitimate economic development in other countries.