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Dual-use goods: what are they and why are new rules needed?

The EU is working on new export rules for so-called dual-use goods to prevent them being misused in human rights violations.

What are dual-use goods and why is the EU working on new rules for them

What are dual-use goods?

Dual-use products are goods designed for civilian use that in the wrong hands could be used to supress human rights or launch terrorist attacks. They can be anything from drones to chemicals.

Although these goods can improve people’s lives, they can be misused. Authoritarian regimes might use them to keep the population under control, while terrorist groups could use them to stage attacks.

Why are new rules needed?

To prevent dual-use goods being repurposed in ways that violate human rights , the EU wants to make sure strict export rules prevent them being sold to people or organisations wanting to misuse them.

The EU is currently working on an update of the existing rules to take into account recent technological developments, including new cyber surveillance tools, and beef up protection of human rights.

What is the next step?

The Council and the Parliament have provisionally agreed on the new rules, but both need to officially approve them before they can enter into force.

MEPs will debate the new rules and vote on them on Thursday 25 March.

Read more about how the EU’s trade policy helps to promote human rights


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