Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade

  Thank you for your letter of 27 November inviting the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to suggest areas on which the committees should focus their inquiries over the coming year. CAAT welcomes the new Quadripartite Committee and hopes it will be as effective as the last Parliament's in shedding light on the issue of military exports and suggesting changes to current practice. CAAT's ideas for the next year follow.

The effects of military exports on the UK economy

  Arms exports are widely perceived as a money-earner for the UK and the financial benefit of arms exports is taken as a self-evident truth. Is this actually the case? Or are they subsidised? A number of studies on economic aspects of military exports have been published recently or are due shortly.

  —  A report commissioned by the UK government into the benefits of arms exports to the UK economy is expected before Christmas.

  —  A report by the Oxford Research Group and Saferworld, published recently, shows that such exports are subsidised.

  —  CAAT is producing a series of economic factsheets, which should be ready very soon, and has commissioned a report from Defence and Aerospace Analysts on employment and military exports which should be available by Easter.

  CAAT suggests that these reports present a good opportunity for your committees to consider the effects of military exports on the UK economy by examining these studies, taking evidence from those who produced them and others, and investigating this under-explored issue.

The Export Bill

  The secondary legislation is due to be published in the spring and the Government has announced that there will be a consultation period.

  CAAT suggests that the committees allocate time to a thorough investigation of the secondary legislation and, in particular, whether and to what extent it will enable the Government to act to address some of the concerns raised during the passage of the Export Bill through the House of Commons. These include the cumulative effect of exports on overseas development, and controls on production under licence overseas and on the extra-territorial activity of UK citizens and companies with regards to arms brokering.

  End-use controls and parliamentary prior scrutiny, which the Government said did not need legislation, should also be considered.


  The Government is due to publish its Green Paper on mercenaries and private military companies.

  CAAT believes this is something that the committees will have a view on; and feels an inquiry and response from the committees on this would be helpful in ensuring any future legislation is effective.

Issues arising from Ballistic Missile Defence

  UK companies are anticipating contracts from the United States' Ballistic Missile Defence project—could their potential involvement affect UK decision-making on BMD? What impact is BMD likely to have on missile proliferation?

  CAAT suggests that your committees keep a watch on the impact of BMD on different aspects of Government policy.

4 December 2001

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