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The Australia Group

An Australian soldier shakes the hand of a young boy in Timor Leste

The Australia Group (AG) is an informal arrangement of 40 participating states and was formed in 1985 in response to evidence that Western countries had inadvertently supplied Iraq with dual-use chemicals which Iraq had diverted to its chemical weapons program.

In 1990, the Group expanded its scrutiny to biological materials as information revealed that Iraq had also been pursuing a biological weapons program.

The AG aims to allow exporting or transshipping countries to minimise the diversion risk of dual-use chemicals and equipment that could be used in chemical and biological weapon (CBW) proliferation.

Coordination of national export control measures assists AG participants to fulfill their obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention to the maximum extent possible. Indeed, in the absence of a verification body for the Biological Weapons Convention, the AG's development of control lists covering biological materials and technologies is the only form of internationally harmonised control over such items.

All states participating in the AG are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention, and strongly support efforts under those Conventions to rid the world of CBW.

The Australia Group Common Control List Handbooks provide information on controlled commodities and are available from the Regime Resources page.