Technology & Trade

The Arms Trade Treaty – Just the Facts

The United States signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on Sept. 25 at the United Nations in N.Y. The treaty opened for signature on June 3 and now has 114 signatories. The ATT breaks new ground by establishing common international standards that must be met before states may authorize transfers of conventional weapons. The pact also prohibits transfers that would lead to war crimes and attacks on civilians and requires states to report annually on all authorized arms exports. It does not create export controls beyond what the United States already requires for itself, nor does it place any restrictions on U.S. domestic gun ownership.

The Obama administration has not indicated when it might send the treaty to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle for approval. On Oct. 15, 50 senators sent a letter to President Obama pledging to oppose ratification. Instead of rushing to judgment, senators first need to hear the facts about the ATT and how it benefits U.S. and global security.

The Stimson Center, along with the Arms Control Association, hosted a panel discussion that explored the background and basics on the Arms Trade Treaty; what the ATT requires the United States to do, and what it does not; key obstacles to bringing the treaty into force; and key steps to ensure the ATT is effective and robust.

Speakers included:

Tom Countryman, Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State

Rachel Stohl, Senior Associate, The Stimson Center

Adotei Akwei, Director of Government Relations, Amnesty International USA

Moderated by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

To watch the full event, click here.

To read a full transcript, click here.


Part of the Arms Trade Treaty Project
Choose Your Subscription Topics
* indicates required
I'm interested in...
38 North: News and Analysis on North Korea
South Asian Voices