Appendix 8: Memorandum from
the Campaign Against Arms Trade
1. The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)
is working for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international
arms trade, together with progressive demilitarisation within
2. CAAT would like to make known to the
members of the House of Commons Defence, Foreign Affairs, International
Development and Trade and Industry Select Committees (the Quadripartite
Committee) some of its recent concerns prior to the Committee's
evidence session with the Foreign Secretary.
3. The Annual Report on the UK's Strategic
Export Controls for 2003, together with the two subsequently published
quarterly reports, shows that, yet again, the UK arms the world's
trouble spots and that there is a lack of joined up thinking in
4. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
Strategy White Paper on "UK International Priorities"
(December 2003) predicts that for the next 10 years: "Serious
flashpoints are likely to remain and may intensify between India
and Pakistan, in the Middle East, on the Korean peninsula and
in the Taiwan Strait". However, the 2003 Annual Report shows
that these destinations are important clients of the UK arms industry.
5. In 2003 licences were issued for the
export of £86.5 million of UK military equipment to India;
£29.5 million to Pakistan (almost double that for 2002);
£47 million to South Korea; and £24 million to Taiwan.
6. Countries of concern also received shipments
of military equipment from the UK in 2003. Equipment worth £189.33
million went to Saudi Arabia; £42.37 million to Turkey and
around £25 million each to the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
7. Saudi ArabiaThe FCO's Human Rights
Annual Report for 2004 says a European Union statement in April
2004 on Saudi Arabia summarised the UK's ongoing concerns: "Women
are subject to discrimination. Prisoners suffer maltreatment and
torture. Capital punishment is imposed without adequate safeguards,
and often executed in a cruel way and in public. Amputations are
imposed as corporal punishment. Shiite citizens suffer discrimination.
We also have concerns about freedom of expression, assembly and
8. Yet Saudi Arabia is the biggest recipient
of UK arms, sending a message to the government there that its
repressive policies are acceptable as long as it keeps paying
for the military equipment provided with oil.
9. The same policy of appeasement and arms
sales which contradicted any statements about his human rights
abuses was used in the 1980's with regard to Saddam Hussein. The
result then was disastrous. It could well be again with regards
to Saudi Arabia.
10. The £1 billion insurance given
to BAE Systems by the Export Credits Guarantee Department to cover
its sales to Saudi Arabia (Guardian, 14 December 2004)
is official confirmation that there are worries about the stability
of the Saudi regime. It also means that the UK taxpayer is exposed
to the possibility of picking up the bill for these particularly
11. IndonesiaThe UK government is
continuing to licence the export of equipment to the brutal Indonesian
military which could easily be used for internal repression such
as weapons sights, gun silencers, and components for tanks, helicopters
and military aircraft. CAAT, together with TAPOLthe Indonesia
Human Rights campaign, has made a separate submission to your
Committee on Indonesia.
12. IsraelIn the FCO's Human Rights
Annual Report for 2004 concern is expressed about the civilian
casualties during Israeli military incursions into the occupied
territories. However, export licences continue to be granted for
equipment which might assist the Israeli military with such incursions.
For instance, the January to March 2004 quarterly report showed
Standard Individual Export Licences (SIEL) including those for
small arms ammunition and technology for the use of laser range
finders whilst between April and July SIELs were issued for armoured
all wheel drive vehicles.
13. ChinaCAAT is pleased that the
European Union has decided to keep its partial arms embargo on
China. However, since lifting the embargo is an EU goal, CAAT
along with many human rights organisations is concerned this may
happen shortly. CAAT would urge your Committee to ask the Foreign
Secretary to detail precisely how he believes the human rights
situation in China has changed in ways which would justify lifting
the embargo in the near future.
14. Even if the EU decides to lift the embargo,
there is no compulsion on the governments of the individual member
states to licence military exports to China. CAAT believes that
such exports would still be contrary to the Consolidated EU and
National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.
15. Any lifting of the EU or UK embargo
would not only send a message to the Chinese government that its
human rights abuses can be overlooked in the interests of trade,
but could also lead to European weapons technology being used
to suppress peaceful resistance in Tibet, Inner Mongolia or elsewhere.
Such technology could also end up in the hands of the North Korean,
Burmese or Sudanese military which have received Chinese weaponry.
16. CAAT welcomes the on-line Quarterly
Reports as these make the information available much sooner than
has been the case to date.
17. The separation of exports for incorporation
in equipment for export elsewhere is also a welcome step. However,
for this information to be meaningful, the reports need to state
in each case what the final destination of the equipment is.
Inadequate export statistics
18. Where the Customs & Excise Tariff
Codes do not distinguish between military and civil equipment
such exports are included under "Additional aerospace equipment"
in the Ministry of Defence's "UK Defence Statistics".
The Annual Reports still do not include a figure for this. As
the table below shows, the military-related "Additional aerospace
equipment", as estimated by the Society for British Aerospace
Companies, is usually considerably greater than the "Identified
|UK Defence Statistics
|Identified military equipment
this is the only figure which also
appears in the Annual Reports
|Additional aerospace equipment
|Values in £ million.||
19. In the 2003 Annual Report, Annex C for the first
time says that where there are dual military/civil codes, information
from Customs Procedure Codes and knowledge of the trade, has been
used to split military and civil trade. However, this only seems
to have been done for a few categories and seems to have made
no difference to the proportion of exports defined as "Additional
20. CAAT recommends that Customs & Excise be asked
to produce a definitive list of Tariff Codes covering military,
security and police equipment exports. Where the equipment may
be either civil or military, the allocation of the Tariff Code
should be determined by the nature of the end-user. Without such
a step being taken, neither the Government nor the public has
information about the majority of the UK's military exports.
No systematic end-use monitoring
21. The Government only monitors where permitted armament
exports end up when it believes it would "minimise the risk
of diversion and where such monitoring is practical." (Hansard,
15 September 2004, col 1603W) CAAT believes it is vital that the
Government institute a system to check what equipment is exported
under each licence and where it ends up.
Lack of control over military exports
22. Given that the Government knows neither what the
total amount sold to each country each year is nor what equipment
is shipped under each licence and where it ends up, CAAT would
question the robustness of the current system and how the Government
can claim it controls military exports.
23. The Ministry of Defence-led F680 procedure allows
"industry to obtain an indication from Government about the
likely success of an export licence application, and can help
direct marketing efforts . . . If F680 clearance is in place,
any subsequent Export Licence application is likely to be processed
more quickly, because much of the groundwork has already been
done." (DESO website)
24. In response to a question from Harry Cohen MP, the
Government gave information on a countryby-country basis of the
numbers of F680 applications granted and refused. (Hansard, I
November 2004, col 90-98W) This information should, in future,
be included in the Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls.
25. It is unclear whether applications refused are circulated
to other EU states as part of the denial notification process
under the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports.
26. Allegations of bribery surrounding several arms deals
have surfaced, or resurfaced with additional evidence, in the
past few months. CAAT is pleased that, in some instances at least,
the Serious Fraud Office is investigating. All allegations should
be investigated and the 1992 National Audit Office report into
the Al Yamamah deal with Saudi Arabia should be published forthwith.
27. It is most disturbing that, after lobbying by BAE
Systems and others, the Export Credits Guarantee Department weakened
controls established to prevent UK companies offering bribes overseas.
The companies will have to supply fewer details of their agents
and commission payments than under the original rules. The payment
of commission to agents is, however, exactly what has been alleged
with regards to past deals, for instance that of the sale of Alvis
vehicles to Suharto's Indonesia.
28. CAAT was surprised and concerned that the EU Constitution
contains a commitment to develop European military capacity, including
the establishment of a European Armaments, Research and Military
Capabilities Agency, now set up as the European Defence Agency.
The FCO's "Guide to the European Union" states that
the measures included in the Constitution: "should help encourage
other European countries to spend more on defence, and to spend
29. There has been little public or parliamentary debate
about these developments. In many cases, as with the STAR 21 aerospace
review and Group of Personalities looking into security research,
committees making proposals have been dominated by the arms companies.
Unsurprisingly, these reviews gave little consideration to the
many non-military ways Europe might become more secure and have
a positive influence on the world.
30. The arms trade is subsidised by several hundreds
of millions of pounds, annually. Although some of the figures
are difficult to acquire, CAAT estimates that UK arms exports
receive a subsidy of around £890 million per year. The elements
which account for the subsidies and savings are as follows, CAAT
would be happy to provide information on how these figures have
been arrived at should your Committee wish for this.
|Defence Export Services Organisation||16
|Use of Armed Forces||6
|Embassies and Defence Attaches||24
|Defence Assistance Fund||6
|UK Trade and Investment||1
|Missile Defence Centre||5
|Direct Distortion of MoD Procurement Choices
|Research & Development||670
31. CAAT is not alone in concluding that arms exports
are subsidisedseveral other studies have come to the same
conclusion, even a report commissioned by the UK government from
MoD economists and York University on The Economic Costs and Benefits
of UK Defence Exports (2001). This concluded, firstly, that the
economic costs of reducing military exports are relatively small
and largely one-off, and secondly, as a consequence, that the
balance of argument about military exports should depend mainly
on non-economic considerations.
32. Employment arguments are frequently used by the UK
government in an attempt to persuade the general public to support
arms exports. However, the number of people employed in producing
arms for export is less than 0.3% of the workforcefar fewer
than popularly supposed. In addition, most arms export jobs are
located in areas with very low unemployment and hence tight labour
markets such as the South East.
33. Given the 65,000 employees estimated to be working
on military exports, the subsidy amounts to over £13,000
for each job each year.
34. Voters would be happy to see Government support for
arms exports removed. An opinion poll conducted by BMRB in December
2004 showed over half the sample believed that the Defence Export
Services Organisation should be closed, whilst under 16% supported
35. CAAT is seeking to understand why the Government
should continue to justify such a harmful and unpopular industry
and believes the close links between Government and the arms industry
may lie at the root of this. Such links include the many advisory
bodies, the "revolving door" and the increasing number
of lobbying companies engaged by military manufacturers.
36. These links have led to massive support for the industry
by the Government. It is time for such support to stop.