Quadripartite Select Committee Written Evidence

Further memorandum from the Government

Unclassified section of HMG's letter of 29 June 2006 to Quadripartite Committee


3.   Why has the median time taken to determine SIELs increased from 12 days in April-June 2005 to 15 days in October-December 2005?

  Due to a typographical error, the figure should read 13 days and not 15.

4.   Does the Government plan to make three years the standard length of an OIEL?

  OIEL applications are considered on a case by case basis. Based on an assessment of the goods and destination, an OIEL may be issued with a validity of between two and five years.

5.   Are strategic exports to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man subject to the full requirements of the Export Control Act 2002? What controls apply to exports from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to the UK and to the rest of the world?

  Section 11(3) of the Export Control Act 2002 states that the removal of goods to the Isle of Man shall not be regarded for the purposes of ECA 02 as an exportation of those goods. The Export of Goods, Transfer of Technology and Provision of Technical Assistance Order at 2(1) states that "exportation" is defined as "to any destination outside the UK and the Isle of Man". In other words, any export of strategic goods from the Isle of Man is subject to the same controls as exports from the mainland.

  The Channel Islands are not included in the scope of the ECA 02. Therefore, any transfers of strategic goods to the CI's are deemed to be exports for the purposes of UK strategic export controls and are subject to all the normal licensing procedures. Exports from the CI's to other—non—UK destinations are a matter for the CIs government. In practice, the government of the CIs will consult HMG before exporting strategic goods. It is understood that strategic exports from the CIs are very limited.

6.   Why has the Quarterly Report for October-December and the refusals information not been placed on the FCO web-pages?

  This was an administrative error that has now been rectified. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

7.  The Independent published an article with the headline "Africa and the curse of the AK-47" on 6 April. It states: "Figures based on customs records kept by the UN and obtained by The Independent show that between 2001 and 2003, Britain sent arms worth £515,000 into Sudan, the bulk of it a single consignment of bombs, grenades, ammunition and mines worth £420,000." The Committee would be grateful for the Government's view on this statement, for details of the licences issued, particularly that covering the £420,000 consignment, and, given the human rights record of the Sudanese government stretching back many years, the grounds on which the Government concluded these licences would be in accordance with the EU code of conduct on arms exports.

  These allegations, which were first raised in 2004, have been investigated by the Government and found to be baseless. The UK adheres fully to the EU arms embargo on Sudan, which has been in force since 1996.

  We contacted the UN in 2004 when these allegations first surfaced. The UN advised that their information was based on Sudanese reporting. Given doubts as to their veracity, it was agreed that the UN would revert to the Sudanese authorities for confirmation. To-date, we have not received any information from the UN to support the allegations.

  Nevertheless, the allegations have been fully investigated by the Government. To allow for extant licences, the period 1999-2003 has been scrutinised. Our records show that the only export licences issued for Sudan covering ML listed items were for "military cargo vehicles" and "body armour". The total value of these licences was £47,200.64p. Information on actual exports from the UK is, of course, a matter for HMRC.

  HMG was asked a parliamentary question on this issue. Lord Alton in January 2005 asked: Whether the finding of the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (Comtrade) that the United Kingdom has exported 180 tonnes of arms to Sudan since 2001 is correct. [HL755—26 January 20051].

  Answer: ". . . The United Nations International Trade Centre and the United Nations Statistics Division have told us that their statistics are based on Sudanese reporting, and they would revert to the Sudanese authorities for clarification. We have as yet received no information to support the statistics Comtrade published. If we do, we will investigate further and action will be taken against any UK person or entity found to be in breach of UK legislation implementing the arms embargo against Sudan.

June 2006

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