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5th Export Control Day in Münster: “International Networking”

On February 24th and 25th, 2011 the 5th Export Control Day (Exportkontrolltag) was held at the auditorium of the castle (Aula des Schlosses) of the Westfälsiche Wilhelms-Universität Münster. This year’s title was “International networking”.  The conference was organized by the Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle (BAFA) in conjunction with the Zentrum für Aussenwirtschaftsrecht (ZAR) der Westfälischen Wilhelms Universtität Münster as in former years.

The Export control day is a unique forum of expertise in Germany, where high-ranked representatives of the state and administration are able to exchange views with important persons from economy and academics. Only the close conjunction between ZAR and BAFA makes it possible to create a forum of this dimension. This year’s conference was divided into five sessions in which the participants were able to follow the recent development of export control on a national as well as an international level with special focus on export control in China and the USA. With almost 400 participants the auditorium was filled to its capacity.
In his welcoming speech Prof. Dr. Dirk Ehlers (ZAR) pointed out the increase of importance, which the Export Control Day gained during the last years and wished all participants a successful and informative meeting. All presentations were simultaneously translated into three languages. In addition to German and English the speeches were also translated into Chinese for the first time.  Then, Dr. Arnold Wallraff, (President, BAFA) held a second welcoming address. Wallraff was delighted to present the audience delegates from Germany’s most important trade partners: China and the USA.

Expert’s Forum USA: Dr. Bachem-Niedermeier, Mr. Hartmanshenn, Assistent Secretary Wolf,, Mr. Pietsch, Prof. Wolffgang

The first speaker of the session “Policy Forum National” was Viktor Elbling, Director General (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) who praised the Export Control Day as an example for the vivid exchange of views about the very important topic export control. Germanys steadily increasing exports are the reason for making experts prognosticate another record-breaking year and causes other countries to refer to the trend as “German Wunder”, Elbing said. Elbling’s statements where supplemented by Carl-Martin Welcker, Vice President of VDMA( Germany Engineering Federation) who said that export was more than a lucrative branch of trade, that “export is our economic existence”. He prognosticated that the domestic market would only play a subsidiary role in future. From his point of view, the best way to control export in medium sized enterprises was self assessment and control. An inside view into the current threat of proliferation networks was presented by Ernst Uhrlau, President of BND in his speech about international procurement networks. With respect to the conference’s topic “international networking”, Uhrlau said the best way to prevent other states from receiving critical weapon programs was to fight these “networks with networks”. Thereby he stressed the importance of close cooperation with other institutions and befriended countries. As last speaker of the Policy Forum National, Paul Wamers, President of ZKA (German Customs Criminological Office) described proliferation prevention and risk management form the point of view of the ZKA. He pointed out that in future it would be possible to commence an investigation under very strict requirements before a crime has been committed, even before the stage of attempt has been overstepped.
The second part of the first conference day started with the “Policy Forum International”. After introductory words of President Wallraff (BAFA), Wu Hongbo, Ambassador of the PR China, explained the Chinese export control legislation. Greg Delawie, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the USA, briefed the audience about the export control legislation of another very important partner of Germany in export, the USA, explaining the US measures against proliferation and measures for supply chain security. A third perspective on export control gave Prof. Dr. Thilo Rensmann, LL.M. from the University Dresden, who held speech on extraterritoriality and the law of nations. Using the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) as an example, Rensmann explained that the way the USA sanctioned enterprises committing trade with Iran was a breach of the law of nations, namely the principle of territoriality, that was nevertheless tolerated by US trading partners.

The third forum was the “Experts’ Forum: China” which was chaired by Georg Pietsch, BAFA. On the one hand Wang Changjiang, MOFCOM and Zhou Yahan, China Customs described export control of dual-use items and the role of customs in export control from the point of view of Chinese authorities. On the other hand Ralf Wirtz, Director Global Trade Control, Oerlikon Vakuum GmbH informed about challenges of German Enterprises committing trade with China.

The second conference day started with an opening speech by Prof. Dr. Hans-Michael Wolffgang (ZAR, Dean of faculty of Law), who summarized the first conference day for the audience and introduced into the upcoming forums- the “Experts’ Forum: USA” and the “Experts’ Forum: Recent Development”.

The first speaker of the “Experts’ Forum: USA” was Kevin Wolf, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration who dealt with the guidelines of the US-control systems and discussed reform efforts on which he was working on. Wolf also made that the point the US were not willing to change the strict export control with respect to China. The perspective of global enterprises located in Germany was given by Jochen Hartmannshenn, Vice President, Head of Export  Administration Germany, EADS, who illustrated challenges for German enterprises exporting to the USA. Completed was this discussion round by Dr. Ursula Bachem-Niedermeyer, LL.M., ORR’in, Germany Trade and Invest, who delivered a speech on US-re-export regulations.

The last forum, the “Experts’ Forum: Recent Development” was chaired by Prof. Dr. Wolffgang. Discussions and trends in politics and administration authorities were the emphasis in the last part of the conference. Karl Wendling, Director Gerneral, Ministry of Economics and Technology informed about the implementation of the coalitions’ plan to make German export control law less complicated and more modern.  Dr. Andreas Prothmann, MFA gave an inside view into the recent political development in the area of export control and Holger Beutel (BAFA) explained the implementation of regulations and laws on a national and European layer, stressing the ongoing process of trade facilitation by IT-based communication between authorities and enterprises.

The two-day conference was completed by the words of Prof. Hans-Michael Wolffgang who described the small anniversary of the Export Control day as a great success and thanked the high ranked speakers, delegates and the audience for making this great event possible.
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