30 Apr 2024

Contribution to public consultation on white paper on export controls

DIGITALEUROPE welcomes the opportunity to express its views on the EU’s future export control policies, and the European Commission’s White Paper on Dual-Use Export Controls specifically.

We appreciate the Commission’s efforts to protect European know-how and businesses. Any new export control measures should strive towards maintaining the EU’s global competitiveness by ensuring a level playing field and a consistent application of controls across the EU. Coordination with the private sector is crucial to maintain European competitiveness globally.

In particular:

  • Multilateral negotiation within frameworks like the Wassenaar Arrangement helps avoid the pitfalls of unilateral controls. The Commission Expert Group should be used for internal alignment and platforms like the EU-US Trade and Technology Council leveraged for external coordination.
  • When extending export controls, evaluation criteria should look at foreign availability, enforceability, impact on EU competitiveness and likelihood of retaliatory responses. Redundant controls of technologies that are now globally available should be removed when possible.
  • Economic security initiatives should prevent overlap and complexity, in particular by separating between laws governing sanctions and export controls. Existing tools should be reviewed before creating new regulatory structures.
  • Human rights impact and misuse potential should be considered when regulating cyber-surveillance items. Certain items may not pose risks for internal repression or rights violations, and commercial tools should be exempted accordingly, reflecting their broadening scope of usage.
  • The Dual-Use Regulation’s vague ‘export’ definition for intangible transfers complicates regulations, increasing costs for EU exporters. Upcoming Commission guidelines should address this, including by clarifying that encrypted technology exports happen only after decryption outside the EU.
  • A forum for political coordination on export controls should be established, with private sector involvement and technical expertise.
  • Enhanced cooperation between Member States and industry, alongside technical expertise, is also vital in the Council Surveillance Technology Expert Group/Emerging Technology Expert Group. The Commission should improve internal expertise and establish expert groups with industry representation for setting export control criteria.
  • Updates to the Dual-Use Regulation should include a mechanism for a harmonised EU-wide list of excluded parties/countries as well as clearer definitions, especially regarding export licensing criteria, to accommodate automation and due diligence.
Download the full paper
For further information, please contact
Lasse Hamilton Heidemann
Senior Director for Outreach
Joël Guschker
Senior Manager for International Affairs & Trade Policy
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