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The Australia Group : Biological Weapons-Related Common Control Lists

[Australia Group Control List]
The Australia Group

The Australia Group is an informal agreement between countries that create export controls that aim to minimize the risk of assisting chemical or biological weapons proliferation. It publishes a list of controlled substances (i.e. viruses, bacteria, toxins, and fungi) and controlled equipment (ex. fermentors, clean room filters and certain software).


The Australia Group: Biological Weapons-Related Common Control Lists are lists of export controlled materials and equipment that could be potential precursors to bioweapons. The list includes viruses, bacteria, fungi, toxins, and genetic elements of any of the materials that impact humans, animals and/or plants. A separate list includes dual use biological equipment such as fermenters, containment equipment, and software used by biologists.  The Australia Group is an informal, voluntary network of countries that aims to reduce the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. In addition to providing control lists, the group also provides guidelines for responsible transfer of these materials and appropriate trade controls. Members of the Australia Group implement the export control lists and guidelines  in their national legislation. 

The Australia Group was originally founded in 1985 in response to chemical weapons use in the Iran-Iraq war, and was expanded to cover biological weapons in the early 1990s.  The Group originally had 15 participating countries, and currently has 42 plus the European Commission. The Group was designed to support the activities of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The Group has annual meetings to keep the lists up to date. The lists are available in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Dutch.