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A Tale of Two Systems: Alignment, Divergence and Coordination in EU and US Dual-use Export Controls


Cooperation between the United States and the European Union in dual-use export controls has increased in recent years, including through the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) and the alignment of trade restrictions on Russia. However, in substance and focus there remain considerable differences in the US and EU dual-use export control systems. The United States has a unified set of dual use export controls while the EU has a multi-level system in which legislation is adopted at the EU level but implementation is left to member states. As a result, coordination in many areas – including the content of control lists, the enforcement of trade restrictions on Russia, and US re-export controls – continues to take place at both the US-EU and US-EU member state levels. This paper compares key aspects of the US and EU systems of dual-use export controls, examines the different processes of coordination, and assesses the potential for deeper cooperation and alignment.

Revised version of a paper presented at the IAI Transatlantic Security Symposium 2023–24, held in Rome on 22 April 2024.

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