|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
'(1) The Schedule specifies the purposes for which an order imposing controls may be made.
(2) The power to make an order imposing controls is not restricted by subsection (1) if the order provides
(a) for the order to expire, or
(b) for the provision imposing the controls to cease to have effect,
no later than the end of the period of 12 months beginning with the day on which the order is made.
(3) The power to make an order which
(a) amends provisions of an earlier order;
(b) revokes and re-enacts (with or without modifications) provisions of an earlier order,
is restricted by subsection (1) only if and to the extent that the order strengthens controls that have already been imposed or imposes new controls.
(4) In subsection (3) "provisions of an earlier order" does not include provisions made by virtue of subsection (2).
(5) In this section "controls" means export, transfer, technical assistance or trade controls.'.[Nigel Griffiths.]
'(a) has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament, and
(i) for the order to expire, or
(ii) for the provision imposing them to cease to have effect,'.
'does not contain any provision made by virtue of (General restriction on purposes of control orders) (2), or under section 4 or 5'.
'an order under section 14(3)'.
', or contribute through cumulative impact to having,'.
', or that exportation of the goods might run contrary to any of the criteria of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports'.
'goods or technology anywhere in the world in connection with the development, production or use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.'.
E An adverse effect on the sustainable development of the country to which the goods were exported, or the technology was transferred.'.
'Economic capacity and sustainable development
F An adverse effect on
(a) the economic capacity; or
(b) the sustainable development of the country to which the goods were exported, or the technology was transferred.'.
I want to give the House a clear and detailed explanation of the many and varied issues covered by the amendments, and I apologise because that is likely to take some time. I wish to give the clearest possible explanation of the Government's position, so I hope that hon. Members will keep their interventions to a minimum during my speech. The House will appreciate that I have a great deal of ground to cover and I ask the House's patience, as in most cases I am not likely to agree to give way immediately. The House will be aware that, unlike in Committee, we have only this afternoon, so I have limited time to speak and I wish to give the House the fullest possible explanation in the time available.
For clarity, I should say at the outset that I intend to oppose amendment (a) to new clause 1 and amendments Nos. 30 to 34, 36, 38 and 39. I support new clause 1 and amendments Nos. 1 to 8, 10 and 12 to 26. New clause 2, which will be considered in the next group of amendments, is a consequential amendment to this group of amendments.
At first sight, this group of a new clause and amendments may appear somewhat complex. I assure hon. Members that that is not the case. They provide that the powers to introduce orders imposing trade controls or controls on technical assistance are directly subject to the purposes described in the schedule to the Bill. They are then limited in scope to controls that are similar in effect to those imposed under clauses 1 and 2, on the export of goods and the transfer of technology. This, then, allows the definitions of "controlled goods" and "controlled technology" in clause 9 to be deleted. However, the alterations achieved in new clause 1 and amendments Nos. 4, 8 and 14 result in a large number of further consequential amendments. Let me explain why we wish to amend the Bill in this way.
In Committee there were calls from hon. Members for trade controls and technical assistance controls to be directly subject to the purposes in the schedule. It also became evident in Committee that the definitions of "controlled goods" and "controlled technology" used in clause 9 to achieve that effect could be confusing. There is also a risk that the current structure of the Bill could leave a loophole whereby brokers who arranged for their goods to transit the United Kingdom might be able to claim exemption from the controls. We want to avoid that at all costs. Hence the Government have concluded that it would simplify and clarify the Bill to ensure that trade controls and technical assistance controls are subject to the purposes contained in the schedule in the same way as the export and transfer controls.
The amendments proposed ensure that orders imposing controls on trading goods or on the provision of technical assistance overseas can be made only for one of the purposes listed in the schedule. The first subsection of new clause 1 proposes and states:
The amendments seek to simplify the Bill, and to tighten it up to ensure that there are no potential loopholes. I know that hon. Members will agree that the Bill is of considerable importance, and it is important to get it right, so I urge hon. Members to support the amendments.
I shall now speak to amendment (a) to new clause 1, and amendments Nos. 30 to 31, as they address similar issues. Those amendments seek to alter the existing provisions in the Bill for parliamentary scrutiny of secondary legislation. Amendments Nos. 30 and 31 seek to replace the negative resolution procedures for orders made under clauses 1, 2, 4 and 5 with the delayed affirmative resolution procedure. Amendment (a) to new clause 1 seeks to subject orders under subsection (2) of the new clause to the draft affirmative resolution procedure.
A very similar set of amendments was debated in Committee last month. I made the general point then that the different scrutiny provisions of clause 11 reflect the distinction between orders that can change the fundamental purposes for which export controls can be imposed, and orders that set out the details of those controls. Clearly, where the fundamental purposes of the Bill are involved, it is right that Parliament should have the opportunity to debate such matters under the affirmative resolution procedure, but the Government believe that the details of the controls are best dealt with by the negative procedure.
There is, rightly, parliamentary interest in the new controls to be introduced under the Bill, which is why we provided the Committee and Parliament with draft dummy orders, setting out how we proposed to use the new controls. That is why I announced last month that the Government would hold a full public consultation on draft secondary legislation before the new controls were introduced next year. That will provide an opportunity for all those with an interest to consider and comment on the new controls to be introduced under the Bill.
We believe that amendment (a), relating to new clause 1, is intended to require that no orders made under subsection (2) of new clause 1 may be brought into force without prior approval of Parliament. We fully accept that draft affirmative resolution procedure for orders made under clause 11(4), which can modify the schedule of purposes, but we do not believe that it would be sensible for that procedure to apply to orders made under subsection (2) of new clause 1.
The object of the new subsection (2), which is currently part of clause 3 of the Bill, as amended in Committee, is to allow the Government to respond to emergency situations by imposing controls with immediate effect that, exceptionally, would not or might not clearly fall within the purposes set out in the schedule. As I said in Committee, the reason for that is that the Government will sometimes have to introduce specific controls under that subsection to deal with unforeseen emergency situations. In such situations, the Government would be required to act without delay and it would not always be possible to achieve parliamentary approval in time. However, no one should be in any doubt that it will ultimately be left to Parliament to decide by the end of 40 sitting days whether to allow the Government to continue to exercise those controls.