Bosnia and Herzegovina: Industry Outreach for Companies Dealing in Military and Dual-use Goods

On 28 November 2011 in Sarajevo, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Germany’s Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA), and SEESAC jointly organized an industry outreach seminar for companies dealing in military and dual-use goods.

The seminar centered on the theme of exports control of arms, military equipment and dual-use goods. The seminar was attended by representatives of 75 companies licensed to engage in trade of controlled goods and representatives of the national institutions responsible for exports oversight and control. The aim was to increase communication and cooperation in the implementation of export controls in Bosnia and Herzegovina between government and industry.

Specifically, the accent of this industry outreach was on the collective responsibility of export control - shared by the government and the industry, the benefits and workings of internal compliance programs (ICP), and better understanding of the responsibilities that industry bears.

The participants were welcomed by Mr. Dragisa Mekic, Assistant to the minister at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations BiH; Ms. Ivana Micic, SIPRI’s Long Term Project representative; and Dr. Ivan Zverzhanovski, SEESAC Team Leader a.i.

Mr. Werner Haider from the Austrian Ministry of Economy acquainted the participants with the reasons behind arms exports control, the key elements of effective control, and the relevant EU legislations. Mr. Haiders presentation was followed by that of Mr. Wolfgang Sosic, Head of the Export Control Department at the Diehl-Defence company from Germany. Mr. Sosci spoke in detail about how an internal compliance program (ICP) is implemented at this leading German arms exporter. Ms. Iva Savic, SEESAC’s Programme and Communications Officer presented to the participants a short overview of SEESAC’s recent publication “Internal Compliance Programs.” Electronic copies of the publications were distributed to all interested parties.

The second session of the industry outreach was dedicated to the dialogue between the Bosnian authorities and industry representatives with the particular focus on the current legislation and procedures related to the export of arms and dual-use goods. Ms. Gordana Banjac, Mr. Velibor Lucic, and Mr. Berin Kurspahic from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MOFTER) BiH clarified in detail all current and updated legislation and procedures that pertain to the import and export of the military and dual-use goods in BiH. The presentations were finalized when Mr. Zijo Fazlagic, President of the Foreign Trade Chamber of BIH spoke on behalf of the industry representatives, providing an insider’s view of the key difficulties facing the industry and its most pertinent needs. Mr. Fazlagic stressed the need for more effective inter-governmental communication and harmonization of procedures, as well as support of the industry through much needed high-level government marketing.

Presentations were followed by a vibrant question and answer session during which both the hosts from the government institutions and guest experts answered a number of questions posed by the industry representatives. 

The Agenda of the seminar can be downloaded here.