Formed in 1984 as a result of chemical weapons use in the Iran-Iraq War, the Australia Group, whose members include the United States, has worked to establish export controls on the precursor chemicals required to manufacture chemical weapons. In 1984, the group established a core list of five controlled chemicals. The list has since been expanded several times and now covers 54 common chemicals used in the manufacture of chemical weapons. In 1990, the group agreed to expand its activities into biological weapons proliferation.
The members belonging to this group have agreed to adopt controls on dual-use chemicals, i.e., weapons precursors, equipment, and biological microorganisms and related equipment in order to prevent the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons. Member countries as of October 1996 include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.