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
to this memorandum, which is provided to the Committees in confidence.
16 October 2001
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