Supplementary memorandum from the Government
1. A number of countries, for example
the United Arab Emirates, are leading global centres for the re-export
of goodswhere previously imported goods are exported without
additional processing or alteration. It is possible for such countries
to be used as procurement bases for other countries' weapons of
mass destruction programmes? Is the government taking any action
to reduce the possibility of re-exports being used for such purposes?
We have a good export control dialogue with
the UAE, where we discuss how controls might be improved. The
EU has recently launched a two year Pilot Project promoting export
control co-operation, and the UAE is one of 4 agreed partner countries
for the project. Certainly such dialogue will continue to include
advice on such issues, drawing on our own experience.
2. In its memorandum to this Committee
the Government said that over time weaknesses in the full region-wide
implementation and enforcement of the moratorium on the import,
export and manufacture of light weapons adopted by the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS) became apparent. What
lessons have been learned from the weaknesses in the ECOWAS moratorium?
The UK remains supportive of the ECOWAS moratorium
and welcomed ECOWAS' decision to make it binding last year. The
fact of the moratorium sends a strong positive signal that West
African states want to act to tackle the problem of the uncontrolled
flow of arms in the region. But ECOWAS member states need to do
more to make sure that the moratorium is effectively implemented.
We hope to see ECOWAS taking robust action with transit countries,
and hope the newly reorganised ECOWAS Small Arms Unit will have
more capacity to address implementation issues.
The UK feels ECOWAS will have most positive
impact on the problem if it concentrates at a practical level
on building national capacity to deal with small arms, with a
focus on the establishment of national small arms commissions.
We are encouraging ECOWAS states to take forward action in the
context of the UN Programme of Action Review Conference next month.
3. Should the arms trade treaty require
UN member states to make the violation of a UN embargo a criminal
All current UN arms embargoes established through
the adoption of UN Security Council resolutions are binding in
international law. So all states have international obligations
to uphold the provisions. National domestic legislation, which
flows from those international obligations, is a matter for individual
4. President Bush announced the Proliferation
Security Initiative in May 2003. What has happened to it?
PSI has rapidly developed over the past three
years and has become a hallmark of strong non-proliferation credentials.
More than 70 countries have indicated their support for PSI. A
plenary meeting will be held in June and we hope to further increase
the number of countries who support the Initiative. 11MG continues
to provide full support to PSI. UK hosted a major PSI exercise
in November 2005 involving 15 nations and is planning a maritime
industry workshop in autumn 2006.
PSI is fully consistent with national legal
authorities and relevant international law and frameworks, as
clarified in the PSI Statement of Interdiction Principles. UK
legal authority mainly derives from the Customs & Excise Management
Act (CEMA), but also the Biological Weapons Act (BWA), Chemical
Weapons Act (CWA) and the Anti Terrorism, Crime and Security Act
(ATCSA). If a state believes it does not have the legal authority
to take part in a specific action it may decline to participate.
5. Has the UK expanded its legal authority
to seize shipments by signing bilateral boarding agreements with
countries to secure expedited processes for stopping and searching
their ships at sea?
The UK has not yet signed any bilateral boarding
agreements, but we have several texts under negotiation. We have
been examining the relevant domestic law in this area with a view
to introducing legislation to give effect to the amendments to
the Convention of Suppression of Unlawful Acts at Sea which were
agreed by States Party at the Diplomatic Conference at the International
Maritime Organisation in October 2005. We have therefore decided
to delay signature of the bilateral agreements under negotiation
until this process has been completed. We will then be in a position
to move quickly to fmalise these bilateral boarding agreements.
6. Information in the quarterly reports
on licences granted appears to group together information on licences
granted for Military List goods with licences granted for dual-use
items. Is it possible to separate these out to make it easier
to identify licences granted for ML goods?
We will need to look at the practicalities and
resource implications of making a further change to the Report
layouts. We will report back to the Quad once we have looked in
7. Will the government consider including
information on the reasons licences were refused, as is done in
the annual reports published by the Netherlands and Germany?
The reasons for refusal and revocation of SIELs
are provided in the full Annual Report, within the Section II
text as a table, listing the reasons and also the number of cases
for each reason. Again, we would have to look at the practicalities
and resource implications of providing this information quarterly.
The reason for refusal is not stored electronically
and is currently compiled manually.
8. The Government supplies an amount
of information to this Committee on restricted and "in confidence"
bases. How does the Government decide that an item can only be
supplied under these markings?
The information provided to the Quad on an "in
confidence" basis contains information that is provided to
the DTI's ECO in confidence as part of the license application
process. To release that information publicly may be damaging
either for commercial or security reasons.
9. In the EU Seventh Annual Report published
in December 2005 a number of countries produced more detailed
or comprehensive data than the UK. The number of states submitting
data on the financial value of either licences granted or actual
exports per destination, disaggregated by the 22 categories of
the EU Military List, rose from 11 in the previous Report to 20
in the Seventh Annual Report. 14 of those countries submitted
disaggregated data on both licences granted and actual exports
while the rest only submitted data on export licences. Unlike
previous years the UK Government did not submit data on the value
of its export licences broken down by ML category. Why did the
UK fail to submit this data?
We understand that this point relates to the
provision of data on Common Military List exports by Rating and
value. The UK has always maintained that it is unable to do this
because of the way in which the data is stored, and the difficulty
in accurately extracting the information. Our current computer
systems still do not allow for the information to be presented
in the format requested by the EU. The only way currently to provide
this information would be to manually check each Military List
licence issued, which would not be possible within our current
resources. The level of detail provided in the UK's Annual and
Quarterly Reports is already greater than that provided in the
EU Report, and is also more transparent.
10. Extending the list of banned items
of torture to include sting sticks? True that EU Torture Reg means
we have to do this on EU level and no longer under UK competence?
With the introduction of the EC Torture Regulation,
the EC has competence with regard to controls on exports in this
area. Article 12 of the Regulation provides that the Commission
shall be empowered to amend Annex II and III in accordance with
the Committee procedure set out in Article 15. We will work with
other EU member states to introduce additional equipment for control
under the Regulation where appropriate and necessary.
11. Applying the extra-territorial controls
to cover MANPADs.
The Government has already responded on this
matter in October 2004 in response to the Defence, Foreign Affairs,
International Development and Trade and Industry Committees Strategic
Export Controls: Annual Report 2002, Licensing Policy and Parliamentary
Scrutiny report of 18 May 2004 (combined response to questions
53 and 54).
12. Exports (number of Refusals in the
last year and how does this compare to previous years) to Saudi
In 2005, one SIEL was refused to Saudi Arabia.
In 2004, one SIEL and three OIELs were refused. In 2003, one SIEL
was refused. Information on the number of refusals to all destinations
is available in the Quarterly Reports on strategic export controls.