Objectives of the MTCR

The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles, and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogram payload at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The Regime’s controls are applicable to certain complete rocket systems (to include ballistic missiles, space launch vehicles (SLVs), and sounding rockets) and unmanned air vehicle (UAV) systems (to include cruise missiles, drones, UAVs, and remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs)). Partners also recognize the importance of controlling the transfer of missile-related technology without disrupting legitimate trade and acknowledge the need to strengthen the objectives of the Regime through cooperation with countries outside the Regime.

How the MTCR Achieves its Objectives:

Export Controls: The Regime rests on adherence to common export policy guidelines applied to an integral common list of controlled items listed in the MTCR Equipment, Software and Technology Annex. The MTCR does not take export licensing decisions as a group. Rather, individual partners are responsible for implementing the Guidelines and Annex on the basis of sovereign national discretion and in accordance with national legislation and practice.

MTCR partner countries are keen to encourage all countries to observe the MTCR Guidelines on transfers of missiles and related technology as a contribution to common security. A country can choose to adhere to the Guidelines without being obligated to join the group, and a number have done so. MTCR Partners welcome opportunities to conduct broader dialogue on proliferation issues with such countries.

Meetings: MTCR partners regularly exchange information about relevant national missile non-proliferation export licensing issues in the context of the Regime’s overall aims. A Plenary Meeting is held annually and chaired on a rotational basis. Recent Plenaries have been held in Ottawa, Canada (2001), Warsaw, Poland (2002), Buenos Aires, Argentina (2003) and Seoul, South Korea (2004), Madrid, Spain (2005), Copenhagen, Denmark (2006), Athens, Greece (2007), Canberra, Australia (2008), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2009), Buenos Aires, Argentina (2011), Berlin, Germany (2012), Rome, Italy (2013), Oslo, Norway (2014) and Rotterdam, Netherlands (2015). In addition, inter-sessional consultations take place monthly through Point of Contact (POC) meetings in Paris, while Technical Experts Meetings are held on an ad hoc basis. The MTCR has no secretariat; distribution of the Regime’s working papers is carried out through a “point of contact” the functions of which are performed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France.

Dialogue and Outreach: The MTCR Chair and MTCR partners undertake outreach activities to non-partners, in order to keep non-partners informed about the group’s activities and to provide practical assistance regarding efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMD delivery systems. On behalf of the MTCR, the chair pursues a range of contacts with non-partners, including MTCR-sponsored workshops and seminars and intensified dialogue concerning the MTCR goals and activities, with the focus on such topics as export controls, related legislation, transshipment and enforcement.

Selected outreach activities include:

In September 2000, an MTCR roundtable meeting was convened in Paris to inform prospective new members on the MTCR. Officials from 11 countries interested in the MTCR attended the roundtable, which was an opportunity to outline the MTCR agenda and enable participants to describe their export controls and present their views on missile non-proliferation.

In May 2001, a round table meeting was convened in Warsaw with the purpose of engaging representatives from 53 countries in a dialogue on a draft International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (now known as the Hague Code of Conduct). In November 2002, the Hague Code of Conduct was launched. As of March 2004, over 110 countries have agreed to abide by the terms of the Code.

In April 2002, a seminar was hosted by the government of Hungary in Budapest, Hungary. The seminar, which was attended by participants from 14 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, was an opportunity to discuss non-proliferation issues such as proliferation threats, trends in missile proliferation, licensing, export controls, catch-all and transshipment.

In February 2003, the MTCR chair attended the Asian Export Control Seminar hosted by Japan and the Berlin Export control Seminar hosted by Germany, both of which were attended by participants from non-MTCR member states, and emphasized the importance of missile non-proliferation and export control.

In April 2002, the Hungarian government hosted in Budapest a regional technical seminar for non-partners on MTCR-related issues. The aim of the seminar was to provide info to export controls experts from Central and Eastern Europe on the activities of the MTCR.

In February 2003, the MTCR chair attended the Asian Export Control Seminar hosted by Japan and the Berlin Export control Seminar hosted by Germany, both of which were attended by participants from non-MTCR member states, and emphasized the importance of missile non-proliferation and export control.

In April 2004, Argentina hosted in Buenos Aires a Regional Seminar on Proliferation, Brokering and Transhipment. The primary aim of the seminar was to promote, at a regional level, the awareness of the danger posed by the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction to global security.

In April 2004, Germany hosted the Berlin Export Control Seminar. It aimed to discuss the difficulties and gaps regarding the control of sensitive software and technologies.

In order to foster awareness and common understanding over the importance of non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery and to share expertise on export controls, Japan hosted in October 2004 the 12th Asian Export Control Seminar and the 2nd Asian Export Control Policy Dialogue.

In addition, the MTCR website (www.mtcr.info) contains basic documents on the regime. This information is intended to provide non-member countries and the general public with information about the MTCR’s goals and activities.

The MTCR and the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (the Hague Code of Conduct): The MTCR has made concerted efforts to reduce global missile proliferation, recognizing the growing international consensus that could be directed into practical action to reduce this threat. Against this backdrop, MTCR partners initiated the process that resulted in The Hague Code of Conduct.

In 1999, MTCR partners began consultation to this end, initially internally and then with non-MTCR states. They agreed in Ottawa in 2001 to universalize the draft text through a transparent and inclusive negotiating process open to all states, severing in the process the Regime’s connection with the Code. France hosted the first negotiation session, which was attended by participants from more than 70 countries. Spain hosted the second session, by which time the participants had grown to more than 90 countries. The Code was launched in The Hague in November 2002 and now has 130 subscribing states.

The Hague Code of Conduct is open to voluntary subscription by all countries. It provides subscribing states with a forum for promoting ballistic missile non-proliferation. As the first multilateral arrangement on missiles, it complements the important, ongoing work of the MTCR and the many other tools countries use to promote missile non-proliferation. Further information on the Hague Code of Conduct is available on the site hosted by the Austrian Ministry of European and International Affairs: www.bmeia.gv.at/index.php?id=64664&L=1