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Mr. Key: I am grateful to the Minister for that explanation. I believe that the message has been taken, and it will be transmitted around Whitehall, no doubt. In good faith, therefore, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
'(1) The Secretary of State shall lay before Parliament in respect of each year
(a) a report on the operation during the year of any order under section 1 so far as relating to the export of objects of cultural interest; and
(b) a report on other matters relating to the operation of this Act (and any order made under it) during the year.
(2) A report required by subsection (1) shall be laid as soon as practicable after the end of the year to which it relates.'.
'( ) Such reports shall list the other member countries of the European Union and shall show in respect of each such member country any information known to the Secretary of State regarding the granting of a licence within that country in respect of an essentially identical transaction refused or regulated within the United Kingdom.'.
Under Government amendments Nos. 9, 11 and 27, we simply seek to ensure that the current practice of publishing separate annual reports on cultural and strategic export controls can continue after the Bill comes into forcean issue to which I referred earlier. At present, the DTI, Ministry of Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Office produce the annual report on strategic export controls. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport produces a separate report on exports of objects of cultural interest.
Given that the audiences for those two reports are likely to be different, it makes sense to publish them separately. Separate publication also ensures that the cost to members of the public of obtaining the information in which they are interested will be kept to a minimum; and we ensure that the annual report on strategic exports is available free from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Under amendment No. 29, an obligation would be imposed on the Secretary of State to publish information on decisions by other EU member states to grant licences for essentially identical transactions refused or regulated by the United Kingdom in the Government's annual reports on strategic export controls. We make every effort, including through the exchange of information on licensing decisions, to promote a multilateral approach to export control. We promote harmonisation between our partners in the European Union and in the international non-proliferation regimes.
Before any EU member states grants a licence that has been denied by another member state or states for an essentially identical transaction in the last three years, it is required first to consult any member state that issued the denial notification under the provisions of the EU code of conduct on arms exports. If, following the consultation, the member state nevertheless decides to grant a licence, it will notify the member state or states issuing the denial notification, giving detailed explanation of its reasoning.
The EU code stipulates that such exchanges between member states are to be treated as confidential and are not to be used for commercial advantage. The Government intend to observe that confidentiality in dealing with denial notifications and consultations to ensure that the code can continue to be the basis of free exchanges of information between member states. For that reason, the Government oppose the amendment.
The EU already publishes information on the number of licences issued, denial notifications, and bilateral and multilateral consultations initiated in the annual report on the EU code of conduct for arms exports. Thus information that can be put in the public domain is already put in the public domain at EU level.
At the same time, the Government continue to urge all member states to match the benchmarks for transparency in arms exports that we have already set out in our annual reports on strategic export controls. The decision to transfer or deny the transfer of any item is a matter of
Amendments made: No. 10, in page 6, line 7, at end insert
' "control order" means an order under section 1(1), 2(1), 4(1) or 5(1);'.
No. 11, in page 6, line 8, at end insert
' "objects of cultural interest" includes objects of historical or scientific interest;'.
No. 12, in page 6, line 9, at end insert
' "technical assistance" and "technical assistance controls" have the meanings given in section 4(2);'.
No. 13, in page 6, line 10, at end insert
' "trade controls" has the meaning given in section 5(2);'.
No. 14, in page 6, line 16, leave out subsections (2) to (5).[Mr. Pearson.]
Amendments made: No. 15, in page 7, line 4, leave out
'an order under section 1 or 2'
and insert "a control order".
No. 16, in page 7, line 5, leave out "3(2)" and insert
'(General restriction on purposes of control orders) (2)'.
No. 17, in page 7, line 16, leave out "or 2" and insert "2, 4 or 5".
No. 18, in page 7, line 17, leave out "3(2)" and insert "
'(General restriction on purposes of control orders) (2)'.
No. 19, in page 7, line 18, leave out "4, 5 or".[Mr. Pearson.]
Amendments made: No. 20, in page 9, line 3, leave out paragraph 1.
No. 21, in page 9, line 5, leave out "An" and insert "A control".
No. 22, in page 9, line 7, leave out "An" and insert "A control".
No. 23, in page 9, leave out lines 13 to 26 and insert
'4 An order may be made for the purpose of imposing export controls in relation to goods of any description if it appears to the Secretary of State when the order is made that there is a risk that exportation of such goods might have a relevant consequence.
4A An order may be made for the purpose of imposing transfer controls in relation to technology of any description if it appears to the Secretary of State when the order is made that there is a risk that transfer of such technology might have a relevant consequence.