Select Committee on Trade and Industry Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by BLWA Ltd


  Thank you for your letter of 1 July from Miss Bridget Butt enclosing the above White Paper. BLWA Ltd is the Trade Association for the Laboratory Supply Industry and represents manufacturers and distributors providing products for use in analytical, research and pathology laboratories throughout the world. Many of our members supply products therefore that are covered by the dual use technology controls. The fact that such products can easily be used for legitimate peaceful as well as military purposes has always been a problem for our members as well as the regulatory authorities. In our industry quantities of products are usually small or the dimensions are small thereby often taking them outside the dual use regulations though not always. We would like to make certain comments on the issues raised in the White Paper.

End of Use Monitoring

  This has always been a difficult subject. The normal pattern of trade in our industry is to sell to laboratory supply dealers in the recipient country. At the time of importation the dealer may well not be able to state who the end users will be. Scientific glassware and laboratory reagents are virtual commodity products with a multitude of uses. Examples covered by dual use controls include glass condensers, anaerobic jars and depleted uranium compounds.

Licensing Authorities

  We note that the Government has decided that the licensing authority should remain within the DTI. It is logical that this should remain centralised and that no part should be transferred, for example, to the Ministry of Defence. Accepting this logic can we ask that consideration be given to centralising within the DTI all export licensing. Currently our members are faced with certain licences having to be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture and/or the Home Office. In an extreme example it could happen that a product might need three different licences from three different departments. We believe this is unworkable both for the authorities and industry.

Dual Use Goods

  As is stated in the paper these are covered by the EC Dual-Use Goods Regulation, and is the main area of our interest. Any amendment to the 1939 Act should allow obviously for changes in this area to be covered by secondary legislation. We would wish to continue to be consulted on any changes envisaged in this area.

17 July 1998

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