Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


DTI response to the Strategic Export Controls Committees' request for details of export licence applications outstanding for longer than 18 months

  The Committees asked for a one-off review of all licence applications outstanding for longer than 18 months, and the provision to the Committees of details of these cases, together with an explanation for the delays. In July, the Government undertook to carry out a review and provide the Committees with a report before the end of the summer recess.

  As we stated in July, the Departments involved in the licensing process already have systems in place to ensure that the number of long outstanding cases are kept to a minimum. These procedures have enabled the Government to make considerable progress in reducing the number of long outstanding applications. The Government receives on average 10,000 export licence applications every year. As of 15 October there were two Open Individual Export Licence (OIEL) applications that were submitted more than 18 months ago, on which the Government had yet to make a decision. There were 16 Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL) applications in the same category. In both cases, this represents considerable progress on the situation earlier in the year.

  The Government accepts the need to avoid delay in making decisions on applications. However, all of these cases raise particularly difficult issues, and the desire to decide on applications quickly, cannot outweigh the Government's determination to assess applications carefully to ensure that correct decisions are made. Many of the applications have been delayed as Departments had to consider the application of export licensing policy in difficult circumstances, before making decisions. We expect to make decisions on all these applications shortly.

  So far this year, the Government has managed to decide on a large number of SIEL applications within the target of within 20 working days than it did last year. All Departments involved in the licensing process will continue to work for further improvement and to reduce the number of long standing applications.

  Further information on these outstanding licence applications is included in the annex[1] to this memorandum, which is provided to the Committees in confidence.

16 October 2001

1   Not printed. Back

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