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Research on Trade Policy webinar series | Feeble Rules: One Dual-Use Trade Sanction. Multiple Ways of Implementation

Friday June 26, 2020, at 14:00
Online. Registration is required in order to get the access link
Research seminar

Katharina Meissner (University of Vienna) and Kevin Urbanski (University of Bamberg).
ChairNiels Gheyle (Ghent University)
Discussant: Johan Adriaensen (Maastricht University)

This event is part of a seminar series of virtual presentations of papers addressing various aspects of trade policy, organised in the framework of the Observatori de Política Exterior Europea (European Foreign Policy Observatory). The Research on Trade Policy series will consist of weekly presentations on Friday afternoon, 14:00 CEST. Each hour-long session will mimic a conference or workshop panel, followed by comments from a designated discussant. Thereafter we turn to questions from attendees.

Learn more about the Webinar Series: Research on Trade Policy

Sanctions on dual-use goods are highly regulated on the European level. Yet, we find multiple instances of implementation and application problems which potentially undermine the effectiveness of dual-use sanctions. Considering the high level of institutionalisation of the European dual-use export control regime, this is a puzzling observation. Drawing on rational design theory and the concept of corporate agency, we argue that the institutional design of the current export control regime is inadequate to provide for sanctions coherence.

Export control is a cross-pillar policy that seeks to strike a balance between the supranational Common Commercial Policy and national prerogatives in matters of security. The Member State’s reluctance to introduce conclusive licensing criteria and to centralise export permission policies produces a constant stream of largely uncoordinated national administrative decisions. The fact that most European dual-use sanctions lack a clear legal basis because they are merely established as a corollary of arms embargoes further promotes an incoherent sanctions policy. The article concludes that the projected reform of the Dual-Use Regulation addresses the problem of fragmented European dual-use sanctions only insufficiently.

Katharina Meissner holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute, Florence. She is currently a Lise-Meitner postdoc (project leader) at the Centre for European Integration Research (EIF), Department of Political Science, at the University of Vienna. 

Kevin Urbanski holds a PhD in International Relations form the University of Bamberg. He is currently a non-resident researcher at the Department of Political Science at the University of Bamberg.