The Australia Group (AG) is an informal export control regime made up of 41 countries, including Canada, plus the European Union, that seeks to prevent the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.
It was founded in 1985, following the discovery that a sizeable portion of the equipment and chemical precursors used in Iraq’s chemical weapons program were acquired through legitimate trade channels.
Canada joined many countries to create the Australia Group, under permanent Australian chairmanship, and harmonize their export controls:
- on chemical precursors and dual-use chemical manufacturing equipment
- on biological agents and dual-use biotechnology
They also decided to meet periodically to share information on relevant scientific breakthroughs, update export control lists, and discuss cases of attempted proliferation and trends thereof.
Canada actively participates in the annual plenary meeting and intersessional discussions to ensure that effective controls are in place to address current chemical/biological proliferation threats.
Canada implements the Australia Group common control lists through Group 7 of the Export Control List.
Permission from Global Affairs Canada must be sought prior to any export of controlled:
- biological agents
- dual-use goods
In addition, licences will need to be sought from the Public Health Agency of Canada for permission to export pathogens not listed under Group 7.
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