This report provides detailed background and legal analysis of the nature of the current European Union embargo on arms exports to China. It also provides detailed background on the European Union’s current Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. A strengthened version of the Code would be one of the control mechanisms that would remain should the EU lift the embargo on arms exports to China. This report also gives information on recent EU arms exports authorized for China. It further summarizes U.S. concerns regarding the lifting of the arms embargo, and notes the prospective timing of EU action on the embargo issue.
Overall, there are two sets of questions for Congress in examining U.S. policy toward the fate of the EU’s arms embargo on China. What are the implications for U.S. interests in trans-Atlantic relations and China? If U.S. interests are adversely affected, what are some options for Congress to discourage the EU from lifting its arms embargo on China and, if it is lifted, to protect U.S. national security interests in both Asia and Europe? Issues raised by these questions are the subject of this CRS Report.