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Statement By Ambassador Hu Xiaodi Head of the Chinese Delegation at the 23rd Session of the BWC Ad Hoc Group (May 8, 2001, Geneva)
2004/04/16
Mr. Chairman,

Upon instructions from the Chinese Government, my delegation submitted a working paper on the issue of export control (will be circulated to all colleagues-). I would like to make a brief introduction on this paper, as well as to elaborate on some related questions.

Today, divergent views still remain on the issues of transfer and export control. Whether they are properly addressed will have direct impact on the timely conclusion of the Protocol. It is with a view to seeking a solution acceptable to all that China tabled working paper XXX.

With regard to export control, China holds that regulating and guiding international trade in the biological field by establishing multilateral export control mechanism is not only conducive to the non-proliferation objective of the Convention and the Protocol, but also beneficial to the promotion of economic and trade cooperation and exchanges for peaceful purposes in the biological field.

The Chinese working paper sets out the principles to be followed in the establishment of a multilateral export control mechanism. On that basis, the paper further lists a number of elements that are indispensable for this mechanism. We are of the view that a multilateral export control mechanism comprising of these elements will not only contribute to the non-proliferation endeavor, but also take full account of the need for transfers for peaceful purposes in the biological field. Therefore, such a mechanism is fair and rational.

China has always maintained that the future multilateral export control regime shall include, inter alia, the following elements:

free transfer of the biological agents and equipment for peaceful purposes among States Parties;
formulation of a control list (including biological agents, toxins and equipment);
declaration of the transfer of listed items;
end-user certificate by the authorities of the recipient countries on the transfer of listed items;
no transfer of the listed items to non-States Parties in principle;
declaration of the denial of transfers;
establishment of a regime to solve disputes arising from the denial of transfer.

Mr. Chairman,

We have noted that there are also some divergent views on this issue. They deserve careful examination.

One view maintains that States Parties have the right to "take additional export control measures beyond those specified in the Protocol", and that such additional measures could be supplementary to the Protocol.

China does not oppose the export control measures in the form of national legislation. After all, the export control mechanism of the Protocol has to be implemented through domestic legislation at national level. It must be emphasized, however, that no country or group of countries should establish or practice any measures inconsistent with the Convention or the Protocol. Similarly, there is no ground for any parallel mechanism or arrangements beyond the Protocol. Once the Protocol enters into force, all those export control measures incompatible with the Protocol and those export control mechanism outside the Protocol should be abolished or amended. Of course, on the part of the Protocol, an equitable, rational and comprehensive export control mechanism needs to be established. The Chinese working paper intends to contribute to this goal.

Another view holds that a State Party can "assess the non-proliferation credentials" of other States Parties.

Such an approach itself is an embodiment of discrimination. Where does such a right come from? Joining the Protocol means both undertaking obligations and enjoying rights. Only enjoying rights without undertaking obligations, or vice versa, should not be permitted. In addition, the Protocol sets out clear-cut "rules of the game". A State Party cannot act as both a player and a referee simultaneously. Therefore, another State Party should not judge the non-proliferation credentials of a State Party. The criterion is set forth already in the Convention and the Protocol, while the Executive Council and the States Parties General Conference ought to be the body making assessment. If a State Party does have concern over the activities of another State Party, such concern should be resolved through "3C" or investigations procedures. In the final analysis, the concern should be submitted to the Executive Council or the States Parties General Conference. At any rate, the concern or suspicion over a state party should not be used as an excuse not to fulfill the obligations under the Protocol. Otherwise, any State Party might, based on its own subjective judgment, refuse to implement the Protocol or implement it only in a selective way. If that were the case, the Protocol would serve little purpose.

Yet another viewpoint claims that a State Party itself has the right to decide to transferor not to transfer, and that the denial of transfer is a State Party's sovereign right, which shall not be interfered with by any multilateral organization.

Our purpose of negotiating the Protocol is to strengthen the effectiveness of and ensure the strict compliance with the Convention by all States Parties through the stipulation of new legal obligations. These new legal obligations must be equally applicable to all States Parties. If each State Party is allowed to implement the protocol in its own way, to refrain from implementing it or to fulfil its obligations in a partial way according to its own understanding, while the future Organization has no right to rectify the situation, then what we are negotiating the Protocol for?

Furthermore, since we have all agreed in principle that the future Protocol should monitor in a universal way such areas as declarations, visits and investigations, why the a different approach on the issue of transfer? Discrimination and double standard have no raison d'etre.

Some say that the issue of transfer relates to one's national security interests and therefore should not be addressed by the future Organization.

The Protocol is first and foremost security-related. Consequently, it is only natural and logical for the future Organization to address security issues. As a matter of fact, the Protocol entrusts concrete powers to the future Organization to deal with a variety of important political and security issues including non-compliance of the Convention.

A view has also been expressed that, after the entry into force of the Protocol, the export control arrangement by a group of countries should remain, on the ground that it will be supplementary to the Protocol and consistent with the objectives and purposes of the Convention.

We can hardly understand this logic. Firstly, after the Protocol enters into force, the existence of discriminatory export control arrangement will create double or even multiple standards, which severely contravene the purposes and objectives of the Convention and the Protocol. Secondly, such arrangement will result in imbalance between the rights and obligations of States Parties, leading to discriminatory policies and practices among them. The universality goal of the Protocol cannot but be seriously undermined.

If, however, some people consider the export control arrangement by a group of States as quite effective, we can very well incorporate, as appropriate, its certain elements into the Protocol. For instance, the control list of the group arrangement can be taken as the basis for ad control list of the Protocol. More importantly, an equitable, rational, effective and truly democratic export control mechanism should be established in the globally multilateral framework.

Mr. Chairman,

The issue of transfer is of great importance. In this regard, the Chinese delegation supports the textual proposal on the issue of transfer as contained in WP432, as well as the related WP452. In the meantime, the issue of export control cannot be ignored or sidestepped. We hope that all sides will agree to the views expressed in working paper proposed by the Chinese delegation, and that common efforts could soon lead to a sound solution to the transfer and export control issues in the Protocol.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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