Examination of Witnesses (Questions 40-50)|
31 JANUARY 2006
Q40 Chairman: Five or six? I do not
Mr Hayes: It is probably the sort
of information that if you asked under a Freedom of Information
request the response would be that the information is not readily
Q41 Chairman: The answer to my parliamentary
question was exactly that. I was hoping you guys might know the
Mr Hayes: Sorry.
Mr Wilson: If there is more than
a dozen at Gatwick I should be very surprised. It is because of
the point which Bernadette made that export compliance is just
part of their role.
Chairman: In all seriousness, I appreciate
that. Bernadette referred to beryllium. Somebody ought to ask
the beryllium question.
Q42 Robert Key: I would be delighted
to ask the beryllium question! I understand that if you have a
consignment of beryllium which contains more than 50% beryllium
by weight, you need a licence?
Ms Peers: Yes. I did a check on
it yesterday. Imagine it is going to Italy, it is ML8
Q43 Robert Key: This is beryllium
for an X-ray machine window; that is giving you an example?
Mr Wilson: That is a potential
use for it.
Q44 Chairman: Robert, why do you
not give your full question because I think the question is important
and then we will have the answer afterwards.
Mr Wilson: That is actually pure
beryllium, 99% or more.
Robert Key: Do you want the whole
Chairman: I am sure you have a very good
question. Let's have the `Full Monty'and that is the first
time that phrase has been used in a Committee.
Q45 Robert Key: Can you explain to
the Committee what happens at ports when goods are exported? What
documents are required?
Ms Peers: For beryllium or just
Chairman: Robert, forgive me again, go
to the beryllium question.
Q46 Robert Key: Let's take an imaginary
UK export to a country outside the European Union which rolls
up at, let's say, Dover in a lorry. On board is your consignment
of beryllium which because it contains more than 50% beryllium
by weight normally requires a licence. The driver says no licence
is required because the regulation provides an exemption for beryllium
metal windows for X-ray machines and that is what he has on board.
What happens next?
Mr Hayes: We are confusing two
controls here. The military list control on beryllium contains
a decontrol notice. The dual-use entry contains a control. Again,
you have got to come back to the basic question of is this military
list or is it dual-use. For the purpose of the question we will
assume it is military list.
Q47 Robert Key: Let's assume that
it is a window for a military hospital.
Mr Wilson: Not more than 50% beryllium
and not therefore controlled by the military list but
Q48 Chairman: The driver says it
does not require a licence. What happens next?
Ms Peers: Well, then he goes to
the Eastern Docks where there are no Customs (because if you have
anything to declare you go to the Western Docks) and he gets on
a ferry and away he goes because he is assuming as a driver he
has produced his passport and his CMR, which is equivalent to
an airways bill (and I do not know what the initials stand for,
I am sorry), which basically says what he has got on board which
would be windows for an X-ray machine. He would then drive across
Europe, transitting various countries. If it was military we then
have the issue of the transit licence because you cannot transit
EU countries with military equipment without a transit permit,
so we are assuming for this example that it is not military so
that does not come into it. He would go through the countries.
If he is stopped then he would probably say to the Customs agent
that it is X-ray windows. They probably will not know because
of their lack of knowledge or awareness and on it will go to its
end destination. Very few checks will take place.
Q49 Chairman: David, I cut you off
earlier, forgive me. Do you want to re-emphasise the point you
were making about the confusion?
Mr Hayes: I think it just seems
to emphasise the complexity of the controls really. The first
decision we have to make is is this item controlled; yes or no.
If it is controlled as military, if it is as we describe a 50%
content, then no it is not. If we look at the dual-use control,
the one that does contain the 50% reference, then beryllium metal
and alloys containing more than 50% beryllium by weight are subject
to control. The decontrol note says that it does not control the
following: metal windows for X-ray machines, so in actual fact
if the item we are talking about was a metal window for an X-ray
machine it would not require a licence at all.
Q50 Malcolm Bruce: I wondered if
I could relate that back to the Export Control Organisation. You
said this is what is outside. Is there no interaction between
the Export Control Organisation and Revenue and Customs to say
these are areas you should be looking out for. Is the reduction
in the staffing of the Export Control Organisation going to make
it more difficult for them to do that? Should they not be picking
some of these things up and saying we should be looking out for
Mr Hayes: A lot of the Revenue
and Customs work is now intelligence-led. By the definition of
that term we do not have access to what it is that they are doing,
but you would imagine that it would certainly be possible to identify
known high-risk consignees, countries regarded as high risk for
either WMD development or diversion of goods, carriers who are
high risk, maybe even tariff codes that are regarded as high risk,
and you would expect them to base their intercepts on that sort
of information. Whether or not they are doing that, we are not
really in a position to know.
Robert Key: Chairman, would you
like the zirconium silicon question next?
Chairman: I think not actually, Robert.
I think we need to draw this session to a close. Mr Hayes, thank
you to you and your colleagues. It has been a very helpful session.
The transcript will be available on the Internet in about a week.
If having read that any further comments are provoked in your
mind, please do write to us and, similarly, if any of my colleagues,
Robert for example, has a question they would like to ask, we
will contact you but, again, thank you very much for your attendance