On September 25, the United States joined over 100 other countries by signing the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). This marks a crucial step in a process where the United States has been and continues to be a leader. The ATT aims to establish standards for the international trade in conventional arms — providing rules for legitimate traders and closing loopholes that fuel the illicit trade.

Not only will the ATT save lives and have a direct impact on human suffering by stemming the leakage of conventional arms to the illicit market, it will also provide a safer and more secure trade in defense materials worldwide and a level playing field for legitimate traders.”

The U.S. already has one of the world’s most comprehensive trade control systems and has been a strong advocate for similar standards being established worldwide. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said at the signature ceremony in New York, “This treaty…builds global security without undermining the legitimate international trade in conventional arms which allows each country to provide for its own defense.”