Memorandum submitted by the Campaign Against
1. The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)
would like the House of Commons Defence, Foreign Affairs, International
Development and Trade and Industry Select Committees (the Quadripartite
Committee) to consider this brief submission commenting on the
Government's Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls for 1999.
2. CAAT is pleased that the layout of the
Annual Report has been changed from that used in earlier editions
and that some of the suggestions made by the Quadripartite Committee
and non-governmental organisations have been incorporated. In
particular, it is helpful to have the information about Open Individual
Export Licences (OIELs) listed country-by-country rather than
in tables much later in the Annual Report.
3. However, the 1999 Annual Report lists
the rating numbers and verbal explanations of the goods exported
separately in the case of the Standard Individual Export Licences
(SIELs); and gives one or the other in the case of the OIELs.
The transparency of the Annual Report would be enhanced if the
explanation were to be placed alongside the rating numbers in
the cases of both the SIELs and the OIELs.
4. It would also be useful if the information
in Tables 5 and 6, covering the export of equipment in major categories
and Government-to-Government transfers, could be included in the
country-by-country lists as well as in the discrete tables.
5. While the 1999 Annual Report is clearer
than its predecessors, it still does not contain enough detail
to facilitate informed debate. A minimum requirement for this
would be details of the quantity of equipment exported and of
the end-user in the recipient country. There is a world of difference
between the export of a few rifles for game wardens and many hundreds
of the same rifles for internal security forces engaged in military
6. In its submission regarding the 1998
Annual Report, CAAT commented that it had received many telephone
calls asking where the Annual Reports might be obtained. Such
calls have continued and CAAT would strongly urge the Government
to have the Annual Reports published by the Stationery Office.
7. In July 2000 the UK government, along
with those of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden, signed
the Framework Agreement Concerning Measures to Facilitate the
Restructuring and Operation of the European Defence Industry.
This is currently the subject of an Inquiry by the Defence Committee.
The Framework Agreement provides for Co-operative Armament Programmes
(CAPs), formalising the arrangements whereby companies from the
participating countries collaborate on the production of an item
of military equipment.
8. Exports between the participating companies
will be made under Global Project Licences (GPL). Foreign Office
Minister Peter Hain MP has said that, at the moment, no decision
has been made as to how information about GPLs will be included
in future Annual Reports. However, he says there is "every
intention of maintaining the high level of transparency of the
Annual Reports" (letter to CAAT, 6.11.00).
9. CAAT believes that future Annual Reports
should contain a list of all extant CAPs together with details
(a) all GPLs for components transferred as
part of CAPs;
(b) full details of the transfer of completed
CAP products containing UK components, including the type, quantity
and specified end-user of materials transferred;
(c) details of any GPLs refused;
(d) details of any licence refused by a CAP party
for the export of a completed CAP product.
10. In its submission on the 1998 Annual
Report, CAAT expressed concern about the implications for transparency
raised by the increasing number of OIELs as information about
their use is not held centrally. In its Report of 17 July 2000
the Quadripartite Committee looked into the use of OIELs with
regard to Zimbabwe and recommended that the Government re-examine
the system for inter-departmental scrutiny of applications of
OIELs for sensitive destinations.
11. CAATs worries about the use of OIELs
remain, in addition to the above points, the requirement for the
exporter to retain records relating to a shipment for just three
years appears a very short period of time.
12. As a minimum, CAAT would suggest that
that consideration be given to asking exporters to report on their
use of OIELs annually and for this information to be incorporated
into the Export Control Organisation's database
13. The Ministry of Defence's "UK Defence
Statistics", table 1.13, includes an estimate of "Additional
aerospace equipment"; the Annual Reports do not. The "Additional
aerospace equipment" is that where the Customs & Excise
Tariff Codes do not distinguish between military and civil equipment.
As the table below shows, in 1998 and 1999 the "Additional
aerospace equipment", as estimated by the Society for British
Aerospace Companies, was considerably greater than the "Identified
|UK Defence Statistics
| ||Identified military equipment
||Additional aerospace equipment
|Values in £ million|
14. CAAT recommends that Customs & Excise be asked
to produce a definitive list of Tariff Codes covering military,
security and police equipment exports. Where the equipment may
be either civil or military, the allocation of the Tariff Code
should be determined by the end-user.
15. CAAT believes that both politicians and the public
have the right to have their representations taken into account
when applications are considered. It would like the Government
to make details of military equipment export licences available
for public inspection 10 working days in advance of the licence
application being considered, in order to allow adequate time
for comment and, if necessary, debate.
16. The Quadripartite Committee's recommendation was
rather more limited, restricting prior scrutiny to itself. The
recommendation was nonetheless welcome as a step in the direction
of greater transparency and the Government's rejection of its
belies any claim that latter makes with regard to transparency
in arms export matters. CAAT is pleased that the Quadripartite
Committee is continuing to pursue this matter with the Government.
17. After many years and in marked contrast to 1997,
when it accounted for 47 per cent of the UK's military exports,
CAAT notes that, by value of exports, Saudi Arabia is no longer
the largest destination for UK supplied weaponry. This reflects
the completion of the bulk of deliveries under the £20 billion
Al Yamamah deals signed by the Margaret Thatcher in 1985 and 1988,
including Tornado and Hawk aircraft.
18. Allegations that vast commissions were paid to intermediaries
have dogged the Al Yamamah deals from the start. The National
Audit Office (NAO) investigated but its Report, in 1992, was,
unusually, not published. In October 1994 Robin Cook MP, then
Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary, called for an independent
public inquiry "to get to the bottom of the allegations"
(Financial Times, 10.10.94). In 1997 almost a hundred MPs signed
Early Day Motion 674 calling for the immediate publication of
the NAO Report. Despite these pressures, no public inquiry has
been held and the NAO Report has still not been published.
19. CAAT has long been pressing for the publication of
the NAO Report. Now, after the deliveries have been completed,
there appears no reason not to do so.
20. CAAT is most disappointed that the Government has
rejected the recommendations that the Department for International
Development be a full partner in the export licensing process
alongside the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office and the Department of Trade and Industry. It is not reason
enough that DflD does not examine all the report licence applications
since the MoD and the FCO do not either. CAAT hopes that DflD
will reconsider its position.
21. CAAT is pleased that, DflD's position notwithstanding,
the International Development Committee plays a full role as part
of the Quadripartite Committee.