Global Green’s Security and Sustainability program in Washington, D.C. hosted the Taiwan’s Nonproliferation Export Controls Seminar last Thursday, Oct. 14th. Dr. Togzhan Kassenova gave a presentation on the challenges that remain for Taiwan in ensuring that its import/export controls are fully able to guard against weapons of mass destruction proliferation concerns.
Dr. Paul Walker, Director of the Global Green USA Security and Sustainability Program, mentioned that no one suspects Taiwan of any ill intentions. However, he noted that Taiwan’s geographical position, political status, and high-tech economy make those concerned about weapons of mass destruction proliferation uneasy.
Dr. Togzhan Kassenova, a Senior Research Associate at the University of Georgia's Center for International Trade and Security in Washington, D.C., delivered a presentation on both the strengths and weaknesses of Taiwan’s export and import controls of proliferation-sensitive items. She discussed the legal aspects of Taiwan’s existing controls, their enforcement mechanisms, and government-industry outreach efforts in managing the trade of dual-use products (i.e. products that can have both peaceful and military applications).
Seminar participants discussed the challenges associated with Taiwan’s position outside of nonproliferation and multilateral export control regimes. Membership in these multilateral arrangements provides its members timely access to technical expertise on goods controlled for nonproliferation purposes and serves as a platform for valuable information-sharing. Due to its political status, Taiwan has not been able to take advantage of these. Participants debated the question of how the international community can engage Taiwan in the global export control regime community outside of formal multilateral arrangements.
All participants of the Global Green meeting agreed that Taiwan is an important actor when it comes to preventing the proliferation of WMD-relevant goods and technologies. Taiwan is both a supplier and a transit hub for sensitive items and technologies. Its commitment to controlling the flow of such goods is crucial to regional and international security. It was noted that the international community should continue to engage Taiwan and offer it relevant assistance with further strengthening its nonproliferation controls.
For more information on this subject, please see Dr. Togzhan Kassenova’s article “Strategic Trade Controls in Taiwan,” Nonproliferation Review, July 2010, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp 379-401.