Most western nations enforce Defence Export Control Regulations as a form of security for that nation’s indigenous technology and capability. The regulations describe how these technologies and capabilities can be utilised and shared, with protection from diversion being the primary goal. Technologies are divided into military use and dual-use, the latter being those that can have both commercial and military use.
Australia’s regulations are administered by Defence Export Controls (DEC), who administers the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL). As a result of the strong US Defence ties, Australian businesses must also be aware of the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), administered by the Departments of State and Commerce, respectively. The US regulations are extraterritorial in nature. This means Australian businesses must be compliant with the US regulations in their day to day operations.
Maintaining compliance with Defence Export Controls is paramount for defence business in the current environment. Should there be a breach of the regulations, companies and individuals may be subject to hefty financial penalties and, in extreme cases, custodial sentences. The recent extradition of a Sydney-based businessman to face ITAR penalties in the US shows that the topic is immediately relevant.