On 3 October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia received official confirmation that Latvia has been selected to chair the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) beginning with the NSG Plenary Meeting week in Latvia in June 2018 and lasting until June 2019.
"Not only will the NSG chairmanship raise Latvia’s profile in the matters of international security policy and bring Latvia’s contribution to strategic export controls – it can also promote the visibility of Latvian producers and exporters of nuclear materials and technologies," said the release from the ministry, though chairmanship of the NSG is not usually seen as a commercial or marketing opportunity.
The NSG chairmanship rotates on a voluntary basis, but the approval of a candidacy requires the consensus of all 48 Participating Governments. The Baltic States have not chaired the NSG so far.
The NSG was created in 1975, and currently its membership comprises 48 nuclear supplier countries from across the globe seeking to limit the exports of nuclear materials and technologies. Lists of items have been drawn up that can be exported to non-nuclear states if certain International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards are observed.
However, far from all nuclear-capable countries are included in the membership list: India and Pakistan, which are both believed to possess nuclear weapons, are candidates but not yet members. North Korea is not a member. Nor is Israel, another nuclear power.
The NSG meets once a year and produces a brief summary and amendments to its guidelines. You can read the latest one from the meeting in Bern, Switzerland HERE. The NSG Guidelines are implemented by each participating government in accordance with its national laws and practices. Decisions on export applications are still taken at the national level.