Export Controls Code of Conduct Adopted


The United States and 23 other countries have agreed to a voluntary code of conduct pledging to use export control tools to prevent the proliferation of goods, software and technologies that enable human rights abuses.

The code of conduct is part of the Export Controls and Human Rights Initiative launched at the Summit for Democracy.

It is intended to counter state and non-state actors’ misuse of goods and technology that violate human rights.

Countries that have endorsed the voluntary code are: Albania, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

All Summit for Democracy participants may join the code.
The Code of Conduct calls for participating states to:

  • Take human rights into account when reviewing potential exports of dual-use goods,software, or technologies that could be misused for the purposes of serious violations or abuses of human rights.
  • Consult with the private sector, academia, and civil society representatives on human rights concerns and effective implementation of export control measures.
  • Share information with each other on emerging threats and risks associated with the trade of goods, software, and technologies that pose human rights concerns.
  • Share best practices in developing and implementing export controls of dual-use goods and technologies that could be misused, reexported, or transferred in a manner that could result in serious violations or abuses of human rights.
  • Encourage their respective private sectors to conduct due diligence in line with national law and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights or other complementing international instruments, while enabling non-subscribing states to do the same.
  • Aim to improve the capacity of States that have not subscribed to the Code of Conduct to do the same in accordance with national programs and procedures.

Participating countries plan to meet later this year to begin discussions on implementing the commitments in the Code of Conduct.

Spyware Controls

Separately, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States announced that they have committed to counter the misuse of commercial spyware.

In a joint statement, the countries said they share a fundamental national security and foreign policy interest in countering and preventing the proliferation of commercial spyware that has been or risks being misused for such purposes.

The countries said they commit to:

  • working within their respective systems to establish robust guardrails and procedures to ensure that any commercial spyware use by their governments is consistent with respect for universal human rights, the rule of law and civil rights and civil liberties;
  • preventing the export of software, technology, and equipment to end-users who are likely to use them for malicious cyber activity, including unauthorized intrusion into information systems, in accordance with their respective legal, regulatory and policy approaches and appropriate existing export control regimes;
  • robust information sharing on commercial spyware proliferation and misuse, including to better identify and track these tools;
  • working closely with industry partners and civil society groups to inform their approach, help raise awareness, and set appropriate standards, while also continuing to support innovation; and
  • engaging additional partner governments around the world, as well as other appropriate stakeholders, to better align policies and export control authorities to mitigate collectively the misuse of commercial spyware and drive reform in this industry, including by encouraging industry and investment firms to follow the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Signs Executive Order to Prohibit U.S. Government Use of Commercial Spyware that Poses Risks to National Security

Executive Order on Prohibition on Use by the United States Government of Commercial Spyware that Poses Risks to National Security


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