Report by the MTCR Chair: Plenary Meeting in Montreux, Switzerland, October 2022

From 17-21 October 2022, more than 210 experts from the Partner countries assembled in Montreux, Switzerland, for the Plenary Week of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The Plenary marked Switzerland’s assumption of the Chair for the period 2022-2023.

On Monday and Tuesday, the Information Exchange Meeting (IEM) and the Licensing and Enforcement Experts Meeting (LEEM) discussed trends and recent developments in missile proliferation as well as best practices in effective export controls and counter proliferation. In parallel, the Technical Experts Meeting (TEM) started with its negotiations on amendments to the MTCR Technical Annex.

On Wednesday morning, the three experts groups of the MTCR convened in a Joint IEM-LEEM-TEM Meeting to discuss the topic of the MTCR and the emerging commercial space sector. Heads of Delegation also had an informal meeting to discuss issues related to the effectiveness and relevance of the MTCR.

At the formal opening of the MTCR Plenary, the policy-level body of the Regime, on Wednesday afternoon, delegates were welcomed by State Secretary Livia Leu from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. In her remarks, the State Secretary highlighted:

“We are meeting today because we are convinced that multilateral export control regimes, and an effective implementation of national export controls, limit the proliferation of missile technology and thus contribute to international peace and security. […] All of the Regime Partners have repeatedly made clear that the MTCR Guidelines do not impede technological advancement and development as long as such activities do not contribute to the proliferation of delivery systems for Weapons of Mass Destruction. The MTCR, like other export control regimes, provides a solid framework for legitimate trade for peaceful purposes, while at the same time serving nonproliferation goals. It strikes a balance between taking into account security concerns and enabling trade.”

The State Secretary’s remarks were followed by the handover of the official MTCR gavel from Ambassador Grigory Mashkov, the Outgoing Chair, to the new Chair, Ambassador Benno Laggner. This moment marked Switzerland’s formal assumption of the Chair for a one-year period. After 1993, it is the second time that Switzerland chairs the MTCR. The opening day of the Plenary concluded with an official reception at which MTCR delegates also enjoyed a cultural performance by Joshua Broger, a Swiss hammered dulcimer virtuoso, who combines a very traditional Swiss instrument with modern genres.

Thursday and Friday were marked by important discussions and negotiations. At the end of the meeting on Friday, the Plenary adopted the new version of the MTCR Technical Annex as submitted by the TEM. The updated Annex is available here.

Partners also appointed two new Chairs for the IEM and TEM and agreed to reconvene for intersessional work. Moreover, Partners also adopted a Message on the Occasion of the 35th Anniversary of the MTCR (available here). All these decisions underline that the 35 MTCR Partners are committed to the MTCR, its important technical work and its goal of limiting missile proliferation.

We invite you to stay up to date on the MTCR Chair’s activities through this website and the Chair’s official Twitter account @MTCR_Chair.