Peddling Peril Index

Available now ! The Peddling Peril Index for 2021/2022

by David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, Spencer Faragasso, and Linda Keenan

September 22, 2021

The PPI 2021/2022 is the third edition of our comprehensive and in-depth ranking of the effectiveness of national strategic trade controls. It ranks 200 countries, territories, and entities according to their capabilities and demonstrated success in implementing export, import, transit, and transshipment controls of strategic goods and technologies. These controls are key to thwarting the spread of nuclear weapons, other destructive weapons, and the means to make them.

About the PPI for 2021/2022:

  • Currently the #1 New Release in Arms Control;
  • Called “Excellent work” by a trade control government professional.




The world faces tremendous challenges from illicit actors who undertake innovative and complicated schemes to acquire strategic goods and tacit knowledge abroad, aiming to forward the political and military goals of pariah regimes such as Iran, North Korea, and Syria, and adversaries, such as China and Russia. Strategic trade control systems, as proven by dozens of case studies documented by the Institute and others, play a central role in international security. If they are well implemented, strategic trade control systems can be effective in deterring, detecting, and prosecuting illicit strategic trade.

But how effective are existing strategic trade control systems? And do all countries have them? In its application of over 100 indicators, the 2021/2022 PPI reveals the current state of strategic trade controls worldwide and serves to remind the international community of the pressing need to more widely implement and enforce trade control systems throughout the world. Most of the countries scored below half of the maximum points in the PPI, with the areas of enforcement and proliferation financing requiring the most global improvements. Additionally, over half of all countries lack relevant, comprehensive export control legislation.

Despite the overall problems, this edition also reveals a degree of measurable progress. In comparison with the 2017 and 2019 PPIs, this edition shows that global trade controls are slowly but steadily improving in many key categories.

For an individual country, the PPI provides its total score and final rank, supplemented by its scores in major categories and a comparison to similar countries. It is a tool that countries can use to identify deficiencies, compare their policies and processes to those of others, and improve their national trade control systems. The PPI also provides an indication of a state’s vulnerability to illicit procurement schemes and measures the extent of a country’s compliance with international obligations, such as United Nations Security Council resolution 1540. It can assist governments and organizations in better targeting assistance and capacity building efforts.

Political will, bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and innovative ideas remain vital in closing gaps in strategic trade controls. The PPI is a key starting point for discussions in government, industry, academia, and the NGO community aimed at improving the effectiveness of strategic trade controls, making the world safer, and ultimately stopping the proliferation of dangerous weapons.

More about the content:

The book contains 16 chapters in four main sections, and there is something of interest for everybody: governments, international organizations, industry, and fellow NGOs.

Section I includes information on the index’s development, methodology and data. The final chapter in this section introduces the overall scores and rankings. Annex 1 provides a full ranking and lists scores for all 200 countries, territories, and entities. We include a cluster analysis, which divides countries by score into four groups. The cluster analysis allows for quick determination of a country’s placement in a high or low-scoring group (or a group in-between), and for easy cross-country comparisons. Annex 2 lists the countries in each of the four clusters.

Section II presents key rankings in the index by grouping countries into three distinct tiers, each of which represents countries that are alike in their supply potential, economic development, and other measures. The usefulness of this type of approach was recognized in UNSCR 2325, when it urged the 1540 Committee, in its work, to take into account “the specificity of States, inter alia, with respect to their ability to manufacture and export related materials, with a view to prioritizing efforts and resources where they are most needed without affecting the need for comprehensive implementation of resolution 1540.” In brief, Tier One in the PPI includes those nations that can supply, at least partially but significantly, the wherewithal to make nuclear weapons, other WMD, or the means to deliver them. Tier Two includes countries of transshipment concern, and Tier Three includes the remainder of the countries.

Section III applies the PPI rankings and scores to three special cases, namely nuclear reactor importation, incarceration penalties for export control violations, and corruption.

Section IV discusses approaches aimed at improving scores and strategic trade control implementation. Comparisons to previous rankings are drawn and statistical analysis is applied to the data. Like the 2017 edition, the 2021 edition contains a chapter listing recommendations. However, the recommendation chapter is not meant to be comprehensive; rather it is a careful selection of the most timely, pressing, and actionable issues relevant to the PPI. For additional recommendations, we encourage interested readers to explore Chapter 12 in the 2017 edition, as well as the PPI webpage on our website, which features additional PPI applications created as external reports.

In many ways, the 2021 PPI paints an improving picture. In comparison with 2017 and 2019 editions, it shows that global trade controls are slowly but steadily headed in the right direction. As a whole, the scores have improved across all areas in the index.

We are thankful for the positive reception to the project and to those who took the time to share their comments and recommendations. We were pleased that several governments reached out to share additional information for this update and to learn more about how they could improve their strategic trade control implementation. As in the previous editions, it is our hope that the PPI will be valuable to states, organizations, researchers, and the general public. We aspire for it to motivate strategic trade control efforts worldwide and reduce the chances that additional states or non-state actors will obtain the wherewithal to fabricate nuclear and other destructive weapons.

Buy the book on Amazon here.

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