German Cabinet approves strengthened export laws

By the Associated Press | August 15, 2012 | 8:35 AM EDT

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet has agreed upon changes to strengthen and modernize the country's export laws, the Economy Ministry said Wednesday.

One major focus is on so-called dual-use goods — items that can be used for either civilian or military purposes.

Under the proposed changes, which have to be approved by Parliament, all unauthorized export of dual-use items will now be prosecuted criminally where in the past that was only possible under certain conditions.

"The deliberate and unauthorized export of so-called dual-use goods ... will, under this new proposal, all be prosecuted criminally," said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert.

The proposal also calls for increasing penalties for violating arms embargoes to a maximum of 10 years from the current five, Seibert said.