7 The EU and the international perspective|
114. The focus of the Committees this session has
been on progress towards an international Arms Trade Treaty. We
have also followed up our previous inquiries on exports of arms
to China, Sri Lanka and Israel. The NGOs raised with us the subject
of interpretation of Criterion 8 of the consolidated EU and National
Criteria. We report on the evidence we have received so far.
Progress towards an international
Arms Trade Treaty
115. We have previously commended the Government's
support for an international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
and during this parliamentary session we have continued to monitor
the progress of negotiations. The Foreign Secretary wrote to the
Chairman of the Committees on 16 October 2009 and 23 November
2009 to update the Committees on the FCO's work towards an ATT.
On 30 October, the UN First Committee voted in favour of the draft
resolution and timetable to negotiate the treaty, with 153 states
voting in favour, 19 abstentions and only Zimbabwe voting against.
It was agreed that there will be a series of Preparatory Committees
(PrepComs) in 2010 and 2011, with the final Diplomatic Conference
in 2012. At the
PrepComs member states will debate proposals for actual treaty
116. The UN General Assembly voted on the ATT Resolution
on 2 December. 151 states voted in favour of the resolution to
negotiate a "strong and robust" Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
This transformed the First Committee Resolution into a General
20 countries abstained, one more than during the First Committee
in October, with Bolivia changing its "yes" vote to
remained the only "no" vote. Ivan Lewis MP, Minister
of State for the FCO, emphasised the significance of this resolution:
I think that this is a potentially historic step
forward and is something that I think we can be proud of, that
the British Parliament, the British Government, has promoted and
pushed for. The situation is that the UN has now approved the
Arms Trade Treaty resolution. That, for the first time, sets out
a clear timetable for negotiation of a treaty. [...] I think it
is important to noteand this is very significantthat
the United States supported the ATT resolution and all of our
contacts with the Americans, all of our discussions with them,
demonstrate that they are fully committed now to working to achieve
117. While progress has clearly been made in the
last year, there remain several concerns regarding the agreement
of the Arms Trade Treaty that were highlighted to us in evidence
to the Committees. Both industry and NGOs feared that finding
a consensus would prove difficult.
Katherine Nightingale from Oxfam GB commented:
I think it would be very hard and a very hard
job for the UK to lead on to get a strong and robust treaty that
has the consensus of 192 Member States of the United Nations,
partly for the very reasons that we know, that there are already
a substantial number of abstainers that may have concerns and
that, although you might have 153, a phenomenal majority of states
within the United Nations in favour of the treaty, in many respects
those 153 states may not get the kind of treaty they want because
of the few and, indeed, possibly because of one.
Oliver Sprague of Amnesty UK warned that previous
attempts to achieve consensus on arms issues had failed:
An overwhelming striving to achieve consensus
led to the collapse of the 2006 Review Conference on Small Arms
and Light Weapons and you could say that the marking and tracing
agreement was significantly weakened because there was an overwhelming
sense of a striving for consensus and the progressive governments
folded far too easily on their red lines, and the minority of
sceptical governments were much, much tougher.
118. The Minister recognised that building consensus
would be challenging, but believed that "consensus"
did not mean unanimity:
[...] at the Diplomatic Conference that will
take place towards the end of the process, prior to the UN General
Assembly vote in 2012, the objective is to ensure that meeting
ends with all of the countries agreeing on a consensus. That may
mean the vast majority of countries vote yes and a very tiny number
abstain. We know that Zimbabwe, as ever, under this leadership,
decided to vote against. Of course, we hope that by 2012, even
they may be in a rather different position. I think the important
point to make, though, is the final ratifying decision-making
body is the UN General Assembly. [...] at that body a majority,
particularly a significant majority, for a treaty is sufficient.
119. While he noted that any majority would be sufficient
for the motion to be passed, and that Zimbabwe alone could not
veto the treaty, he stated that "for it to have credibility,
authority and legitimacy, I think you would want an overwhelming
He also acknowledged that there was work to be done to convince
abstaining states such as China, Pakistan, India and Russia,
echoing the comments of the Brinley Salzman of EGAD, who told
the Committees that the UK had a "hearts and minds campaign
to try and launch with the abstaining nations".
120. Giving oral evidence to the Committees in December,
the NGOs reiterated past concerns on as to whether adequate time
would be given to negotiations at the preparatory stage: there
would be four weeks of preparatory meetings in 2010 and 2011,
followed by the four week conference in 2012. Mr Roy Isbister
of Saferworld compared this timescale with that of the Convention
on Organised Crime (11 weeks over two years) and the Rome Statute
for the International Criminal Court (17 weeks over three years),
which he believed attempted to achieve comparable agreements.
He noted that such a tight deadline would demand greater resources
to achieve a desirable outcome.
However, the Minister believed that the time allowed would be
In my view, four weeks for formal engagement
and negotiation at that level is more than enough. You have to
remember that most of the business is done outside of those formal
121. The NGOs also expressed concerns that discussions
in the UN had been led by diplomats, rather than arms transfer
control experts, which had resulted in some participants of the
UN Open-Ended Working Group on the ATT this year not properly
understanding the issues being discussed.
The Minister stressed that there would be access to such experts
for the Conference, and acknowledged that "we cannot proceed
and be successful with this without that expertise as part of
In a letter to the Committees dated 8 February, the Minister confirmed
that representatives from NGOs and industry would be an important
part of the UK team:
During a recent meeting with NGOs and Industry
we agreed to establish two separate working groups on ATT which
will include officials, NGOs and industry representatives: one
would focus on technical ATT issues and the other on strategic
aspects of an ATT. The first technical meeting has already taken
place and a second meeting will take place in the last two weeks
of February. The next strategy meeting will take place towards
the end of this month.
122. We repeat our previous conclusion that the
Government is to be commended for its continuing commitment to
an international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and we recommend again
that the Government continue to seek an ATT that is as strong
as possible. We conclude that while consensus should be sought
and strived for, a very small minority of dissenting States should
not be allowed to endanger such an important international treaty.
We further recommend that the Government ensure that the UK negotiating
team has sufficient resources and expertise to meet the tight
timetable for agreeing the Treaty for the Diplomatic Conference
Arms Embargo on China
123. China has been subject to an EU arms embargo
since 1989. The embargo was adopted by the European Council on
27 June 1989 in the form of a European Council Declaration in
response to the events in Tiananmen Square in June 1989.
The embargo is not legally binding, as it was adopted prior to
the creation of the EU's Common Foreign Security Policy (CFSP).
The USA also maintains an arms embargo on China. However, while
its legal status remains unclear, the embargo has considerable
moral and political weight, and is considered an important symbol
of the EU's position in relation to China's human rights record.
124. In our first Joint Report of Session 2007-08
we noted that, despite the embargo, the quarterly reports indicated
that the value of standard individual exports licences (SIELs)
issued for exports to China increased from £85 million in
2006 to £227 million in 2007.
The Campaign Against Arms Trade noted that according to the Export
Control Organisation, licences were issued for the export to China
of military and dual use goods to the value of £214 million
in 2008 and £278 million for the first two quarters in 2009.
The licences include airborne and ground based radar, military
aerospace components, range finders, surveillance equipment, laser
sighting and targeting equipment, military electronics, communications
and navigation equipment.
125. We have previously raised the question of whether,
in practice, the embargo has any economic or commercial effect
on China. In evidence to us in June 2008, the Government said
The EU embargo on China was imposed after the Chinese
suppression of the Tiananmen square pro-democracy demonstrations
in 1989 and its scope covers lethal weapons that could be used
for internal repression. It is important to note that it is not
a "full scope" embargo. The export of some controlled
goods to China was always envisaged and thus, increases in the
volume of exports for controlled goods that are not covered by
the terms of the embargo should not be seen as a barometer of
the effectiveness of the embargo.
126. In oral evidence to us in January 2010, the
Minister of State for the FCO said that in "practical terms"
the effect on China was "minimal", but added that "in
political terms it is quite a significant issue [...] It casts
aspersions on China's honour, if you like". He added "they
[China] really do not like it and they really want it to change".
127. We have previously concluded that the British
Government and the EU should maintain their arms embargo on China.
We also asked that the Government should provide us with updates
on its assessment of the human rights situation in China and of
the adequacy of the current arms embargo in place.
In its Response to our 2009 Report, the Government stated that
while the EU Council of Ministers had concluded that the arms
embargo on China should remain in place, it would "be kept
under regular review":
The embargo is defined by most major European
exporters to cover lethal weapons only, preventing the sale and
export of weapons; ammunition; military aircraft and helicopters;
vessels of war; armoured fighting vehicles; and any equipment
that might be used for internal repression from EU member states
to China. The EU Common Position on "Common Rules Governing
Control of Exports of Military Technology and Equipment"
is the EU's primary means of controlling arms sales to all destinations,
including China, and covers the types of equipment and materials
that fall outside the scope of the arms embargo.
128. In relation to the human rights situation in
China, the Government stated that while there has been some progress
on social and economic rights, there has been little improvement
on civil and political rights. There was no sign that China intended
to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR), abolish its systems of administrative detention or provide
transparent statistics on the use of the death penalty. The Government
stated that it continued to have regular dialogue with China on
human rights issues. It has also allocated over £1 million
to human rights projects over the current CSR period (2009-2011).
In November 2009, Members of the Committees met informally a Chinese
delegation of arms trade experts, including Chinese Government
officials, academics and representatives from think tanks, to
discuss the UK system of arms controls. The delegation was arranged
by Saferworld as part of a Government-sponsored project.
129. We were told on 27 January 2010 by the FCO that
there were no plans, at either UK or EU level, to hold a formal
review of the embargo at present.
In general terms the arms embargo on China has been under review
since 2003. In 2004 the European Council concluded that:
It is looking forward to further progress in
all areas of the relationship as referred to in the EU-China Joint
Statement, in particular, the ratification of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In this context the European
Council reaffirmed the political will to continue to work towards
lifting the arms embargo. It invited the next Presidency to finalise
the well-advanced work in order to allow for a decision. It underlined
that the result of any decision should not be an increase of arms
exports from EU Member States to China, neither in quantitative
nor qualitative terms. In this regard the European Council recalled
the importance of the criteria of the Code of Conduct on arms
exports, in particular criteria regarding human rights, stability
and security in the region and the national security of friendly
and allied countries.
130. The Minister of State for the FCO told us that
he was "not aware" of a review within the EU of the
arms embargo at this stage.
131. However, following a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers
in Brussels on 26 January 2010, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel
Angel Moratinos, said that the Spain was "weighing the pros
and cons" of lifting the arms embargo.
While France has been a vocal supporter of ending the ban, other
EU Member States, including the United Kingdom, have traditionally
indicated that China's record on human rights did not merit an
end to the EU embargo. The Minister confirmed that the Government
are currently undertaking a review of Chinese progress on human
rights, due to be published in March 2010. He emphasised, however,
that this was a UK review, not an EU review, and that the review
"does not link at all to the embargo".
132. We conclude that the arms embargo against
China is of political importance in that it provides a strong
message in relation to the inadequate protection and promotion
of human rights in China. We recommend that the arms embargo against
China continues to be maintained whilst its human rights performance
remains so poor.
133. In our last Report, in response to the escalating
violence in Gaza, we focused on arms exports to Israel. In parallel,
the Foreign Affairs Committee reported on these issues in its
Report into Global Security: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian
134. The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has identified
over recent years that the UK Government has licensed arms exports
worth between £10 million and £30 million a year for
export directly to Israel. During 2008, licences for goods worth
over £27.5 million were approved. In addition, the UK has
supplied components for incorporation in weapons exported to Israel
by US suppliers.
The UK, however, provides less than 1% of all arms exported to
135. The UK Government's policy is that UK arms exports
to Israel should not be used in the Occupied Territories.
In our 2009 Report, we focused on the technical issues relating
to whether or not components supplied under licence from the UK
(particularly incorporated in products assembled in a third intermediary
country) were used by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in Gaza
during Operation Cast Lead which began on 27 December 2008.
136. Bill Rammell MP, then Minister of State, FCO,
told us in April 2009, that the Government had not authorised
any exports relating to F-16s, helicopters or armoured personnel
carriers for Israel, including for incorporation in a third country,
since the conflict in Lebanon in 2006, and that "all of these
export decisions were in accordance with the criteria on that
information that we had available at the time".
In a memorandum to the Committees, the FCO outlined instances
where licences were refused for the supply of components for F16s
for use by the Israeli Air Force on the basis of Criteria 2, 3,
4 and 6 of the consolidated criteria.
Ian Pearson MP, then Minister at BERR, told us that: "Israel
regularly features in three destinations with the highest number
of refusals" and that the Government continues "to assess
such applications on a case-by-case basis".
137. As reported in our last Report, the Foreign
Secretary made a Written Ministerial Statement on 21 April, in
which he said that the F-16s and Apache helicopters used by Israeli
forces during Operation Cast Lead "almost certainly"
contained British-supplied components incorporated in this way.
The Government stated it would take the conflict in Gaza into
account in assessing all future licence applications. We previously
concluded that it was correct for the Government to assess licences
to Israel on a case-by-case basis, and asked that the Government
inform the Committees of the outcome of its review of extant licences
relating to Israel and whether the revocation of licences has
implications for the UK's defence relationships with the USA or
Israel or the operational capabilities of the UK's armed forces.
138. The Government wrote to the Committees in July
2009 with an update on the review of 182 extant licences to Israel.
It decided to revoke five licences for equipment to the Israeli
Navy. It stated
that there was no evidence that the decision to revoke those licences
has had any impact on the UK's defence relationship with either
the USA or Israel.
139. Despite the commitment to review export licences
on a case by case basis and in the light of the conflict in Gaza,
CAAT stated that it was virtually impossible to guarantee that
any military equipment supplied to the Israeli government will
not be used in the Occupied Territories. It concluded that "the
only effective action would be the immediate imposition of embargo
on arms and components going to Israel, whether directly or through
incorporation into weaponry produced in third countries".
140. In evidence to the Committees in January 2010,
the Minister of State, FCO stated clearly that there would "not
be any arms embargo against Israel" as the UK Government
were "firmly of the view that Israel faces real threats".
However, he added that Israel was subject to the same review process
as any other state in conflict situations, so as well as case
by case consideration, there was also a review in the post conflict
pressed as to the nature of that review process, he said that
post Operation Cast Lead, there was evidence in terms of specific
actions taken during that Operation, which would be taken into
account when considering applications on a case by case basis.
He added that the whole point of the review process was to look
at the lessons learned from a particular conflict and to use those
lessons as an additional safeguard to the consolidated criteria.
141. We repeat our conclusion that it is regrettable
that arms exports to Israel were almost certainly used in Operation
Cast Lead. This is in direct contravention to the UK Government's
policy that UK arms exports to Israel should not be used in the
Occupied Territories. We further conclude that the revoking of
five UK arms exports licences to Israel since Cast Lead is welcome,
but that broader lessons must be learned from the post conflict
review to ensure that UK arms exports to Israel are not used in
the Occupied Territories in future.
142. We recommend that the Government, in its
Response to this Report, set out clearly the longer term lessons
learnt post Operation Cast Lead and how they will impact in practice
on the issuing of future licences for arms exports to Israel.
143. In our last Report, following the escalation
of hostilities in Sri Lanka, we examined licences for arms exports
to that country. In April 2009, Bill Rammell MP, then Minister
of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, told us that the FCO's
judgment was that an embargo, or the threat of one, was not the
best vehicle for trying to secure a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. The
Minister told us that few licences had been granted for exports
to Sri Lanka since the beginning of 2007 which he cited as evidence
of procedures being effective.
In our 2009 Report, we noted that in the period 1 April 2008 to
31 March 2009, 34 licences were issued for export to Sri Lanka,
and said that we would be keeping a keen eye on all future exports.
We subsequently concluded that it was appropriate for the
Government to assess licences to Sri Lanka on a case-by-case basis,
but we recommended that the Government review all extant licences
to Sri Lanka and provide the Committees with an assessment of
what UK supplied weapons, ammunition, parts and components were
used by the Sri Lankan armed forces against the Tamil Tigers.
144. Ivan Lewis MP, Minister of State, FCO wrote
to us in October 2009 with details of the outcome of the FCO review
of extant licences to Sri Lanka. The Government revoked a number
of extant export licences "in the light of changed circumstances";
these were for replacement components for military utility helicopters
and military telecommunications equipment.
The Minister also referred to media speculation that certain licences
approved in September 2006 had been in breach of the Consolidated
EU and National Arms Control Criteria. These licences had been
for armoured vehicles, machine gun components and semi-automatic
pistols. The Government stated that these licences had been approved
whilst a ceasefire was in place and were not in breach of the
Government stressed that it only issued licences for Sri Lanka
that would not provoke or prolong the conflict or be used for
145. In a Westminster Hall debate on strategic arms
exports on 5 November 2009, further clarification was sought from
Ian Lucas MP, the Minister for Business and Regulatory Reform,
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, as to whether
the UK-supplied helicopters or their components, or telecoms equipment
or its components, supplied under the licences subsequently revoked,
were used by the Sri Lankan armed forces in the conflict with
the Tamil Tigers. In his written response of 31 December 2009
to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in follow-up
to the Westminster Hall debate, the Minister confirmed that all
licences, dating back to 2004 had been reviewed and the Government
had not supplied any helicopters or airframes to the Sri Lankan
Air Force. The Minister stated that the UK had supplied helicopter
components for transport helicopters to Sri Lanka and that these
components had been safety, maintenance or countermeasure related.
He added that: "due to the lack of access and information
surrounding the final stages of the conflict collection information
on how helicopters were used in the conflict has been challenging"
and that based on the information available "we can say the
helicopters were used for medical evacuation, logistical support,
re-supply and ad hoc search and rescue operations and to transport
VIPs including foreign delegations up to the northern region.
They were used to much lesser extent moving troops themselves
to forward areas [
146. The Minister for Business and Regulatory Reform
confirmed that the Sri Lankan armed forces have been supplied
with UK military communications for a number of years. However,
again due to lack of information, he indicated that it was not
"possible to confirm the extent to which communications equipment
was used in the conflict, so we cannot state categorically that
it was not". He concluded that due to this
uncertainty and the escalation of the conflict, the licence for
military communications equipment was refused and all extant licences
of a similar nature were revoked.
147. In response to the question as to why the licences
for military helicopters and telecoms equipment were revoked,
the Minister responded that it was "standard practice"
to review extant licences to determine whether a different decision
would be reached in the light of the change in circumstances in
Sri Lanka. He noted that the final offensive raised "grave
concerns" for human rights and on review, the thresholds
under Criterion 2 and 3 may have been reached. The licences were
subsequently revoked. Export licences granted in February and
September 2006 for semi-automatic pistols, armoured vehicles and
machine gun components had expired before the conflict began.
148. In evidence to us in January 2010, the Minister
of State for the FCO said that the Government had been concerned
about the Sri Lankan situation "for quite a long period of
as such have been "very cautious".
Although the evidence and information from Sri Lanka was "very
The Minister explained that the nine licences revoked during July
and August 2009, were a consequence of the review undertaken by
the Government, and an example of lessons learnt following consideration
of the conflict situation in Sri Lanka.
Mr David Hall, Deputy Head, Counter Proliferation Department,
FCO, confirmed that the evidence of what has happened in the past
was taken into account in the risk assessments that are made in
149. In our last Report we accepted the Government's
policy of assessing licence applications on a case by case basis
as appropriate as the criteria are transparent and the Government
has been forthcoming in providing us with the necessary information
in a regular and timely fashion.
However, we raised the issue of the difficulties in assessing
how exported arms might be used by a destination country at a
future date, particularly if the political situation at the time
of the licence application appears stable.
The revocation of licences post conflict in both Israel and Sri
Lanka does raise again the question about the robustness and adequacy
of the criteria in conflict situations or in countries where peace
is fragile. The Minister of State for the FCO told us that:
[...] if there is a weakness or a flaw in the
criteria we apply to Israel and to the other countries, then that
is the debate that we should have. If the Committee feels that
our system of case by case review in the aftermath of a conflict
is insufficiently robust, then I think the debate needs to be
about whether the criteria and the review process need to be changed.
150. We conclude that the review and subsequent
revocation of nine extant licences for exports to Sri Lanka is
to be welcomed. We further conclude that the Government should
take a longer term view about unstable countries, and further
appraisal is required where the peace is fragile. UK arms exports
have ended up in places that were contrary to UK policy in the
case of Israel, and in the case of Sri Lanka, arms were exported
during ceasefire periods, which, in retrospect was regrettable.
While we do not question the criteria or the goodwill of those
who apply the criteria, it is the outcome of where weapons end
up and the use that is made of them that is important.
151. We recommend, that in order to minimize the
risks of UK arms exports ending up in places contrary to UK policy,
and to maximise the benefit of lessons learned, that the Government
review the efficacy of the criteria in assessing the suitability
of exports to less stable countries and regions.
152. The Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common
rules governing control of exports of military technology and
equipment was adopted on 8 December 2008 and applies to all exports
by EU Member States of military technology or equipment included
in the EU Common Military List, and to dual use items specified
in Article 6 of the Common Position.
Criterion 8 of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing
Compatibility of the exports of the military
technology or equipment with the technical and economic capacity
of the recipient country, taking into account the desirability
that states should meet their legitimate security and defence
needs with the least diversion of human and economic resources
for armaments. 
The UK Government has stated that:
[I]t will take into account, in the light of
information from relevant sources such as United Nations Development
Programme, World Bank, IMF and Organisation for Economic Cooperation
and Development reports, whether the proposed export would seriously
undermine the economy or seriously hamper the sustainable development
of the recipient country.
153. In its written evidence to us the UK Working
group on Arms (UKWG) raised the issue of how Criterion 8 is applied
by the UK Government when assessing licence applications. The
UKWG believed that the Government should ensure that it is:
[...] including a full assessment of the risk
of unaccountable spending as well as corruption as part of their
arms export controls and application of Criterion 8. This assessment
should take place on a case-by-case basis but should also consider
the cumulative impact of a series of transfers and should not
be restricted to only least developed countries.
[...] under the current policy, arms transfers
may be approved that do not involve accountable and transparent
defence procurement procedures in the importing country, or because
the true costs of the transfer are not clear, and are therefore
at risk of draining resources without being accountable to the
parliament or citizens of the recipient country.
154. UKWG cited the examples of Turkey and South
Africa where the negative impact of arms transfer costs could
be seen on these countries' attempts to achieve poverty reduction
and development goals.
In its supplementary memorandum, Oxfam GB provided the additional
examples of Indonesia and Nigeria. It also cited India as an example
of a country which had taken major steps to tackle corruption
in its arms procurement processes.
155. In addition, UKWG noted that certain EU Member
States were looking again at how they apply criteria, including
the criterion on Sustainable Development, in a clear and consistent
way. UKWG believes that the UK Government should seek to encourage
strategies within the EU for universal, clear and consistent application
of Criterion 8, and should spearhead discussions on how to assess
the risk of corruption as part of that assessment.
156. Katherine Nightingale, Policy Adviser on Arms
and Development at Oxfam GB, when giving evidence to us about
the consistency of application of Criterion 8 by EU countries,
stated that there was a "lack of clear, consistent application
of [the] criteria."
Some Member States were using Criterion 8 for other purposes than
that which it defined and had used the Criterion for a range of
denials and other States had never used the Criterion at all.
The UK has only denied one application under Criterion 8 in the
last 9 years.
Ms Nightingale said that some States used the EU guidelines, the
practical guide and the EU Code of Conduct, while other states
did not use these but used their own national controls.
In its supplementary memorandum to the Committees, Oxfam GB provided
information on how other EU Member States applied Criterion 8.
157. The Minister of State for the FCO, agreed in
evidence that "some other member States [...] have more Criterion
8 refusals than we do".
Since 2006, there have been 68 refusals among EU Member States
using Criterion 8 on its own or with other Criteria (63 by France,
3 by Germany and 1 by the Netherlands in 2007, and 1 by Bulgaria
in 2009). In 2009 DFID examined 219 licence applications, but
did not reject any against Criterion 8.
The Minister told us that France is the other EU Member State
that routinely takes into account Criterion 8 considerations into
their assessment of export licence application.
158. The Minister said that even though standard
criteria existed the application of those criteria can vary. There
may be good reasons for the variation in application, such as
legal systems and statutory regimes. The Minister also noted that
there may be different capacity in Member States in making judgments
and decisions. He said that regular EU meetings take place where
attempts are made to co-ordinate and to get "maximum synergy
in terms of decision-making", but there would be no guarantee
of complete consistency.
When pressed further on the subject of consistency of application
he said that "there is a lot of work being done to try and
get maximum consistency and to get Criterion 8 taken incredibly
159. The Minister wrote to us after the evidence
session on the issue of consistency of application of the Consolidated
Criteria in general. He stated that the Common Position allows
EU Member States to operate more restrictive national policies
should they choose to do so and therefore refuse a licence when
the Common Position would otherwise allow Member States to issue
a licence. Perceived
inconsistencies in the interpretation of the Common Position by
Member States are pursued through COARM (the EU Working Group
in Brussels responsible for the implementation of the Code of
Conduct) or bilaterally with the relevant Member States. The Minister
believed that the User's Guide on the Code of Conduct and
the consultation process between Member States on export licence
applications that have been denied has helped to reduce the number
of such inconsistencies. The Minister stated that the Government
would give more thought to "how the consultation mechanism
could be used more proactively to encourage greater convergence
between EU Member States".
Officials would also discuss with Dutch, French and German counterparts
other ways in which the Governments could raise awareness and
use of Criterion 8 amongst EU Member States, and the Government
would report back to the Committees on this.
160. We conclude that in its Response to this
Report the Government should provide our successor Committees
with the result of discussions on the use of Criterion 8 amongst
EU Member States.
181 HC (2008-09) 178, para 122 Back
Ev 31 and 32 Back
Ev 32 Back
United National Resolution A/RES/64/48, 64/48 The Arms Trade
Treaty, adopted by the General Assembly on 2 December 2009,
"On recommendation of First Committee, General Assembly adopts
54 texts, sets aside four weeks in 2012 to hammer out legally
binding Arms Trade Treaty", United Nations General Assembly
press release GA/10898, 2 December 2009 Back
Q 57 Back
Q 21 Back
Q 31 Back
Q 34 Back
Q 58 Back
Q 58 Back
Q 66 Back
Q 22 Back
Q 35 Back
Q 73 Back
Ev 40 Back
Q 75 Back
Ev 62 Back
"EU Arms and Dual Use Exports Policy and EU Embargo on China",
EU Council Background Note CHINA/00, February 2005, www.consilium.europa.eu Back
HC (2007-08) 254, para 141 Back
Ev 44 Back
HC (2007-08) 254, Ev 90 Back
Q 109 Back
HC (2007-08) 254, para 146 and HC (2008-09) 178, para 116 Back
HC (2008-09) 178, para 116 Back
Cm 7698, p 9 Back
Cm 7698, p 9-10 Back
Q 114, Ev 61 Back
Ev 61 Back
Q 110 Back
"EU Presidency reconsidering China arms embargo", euobserver.com,
27 January 2010 Back
Q 110 Back
Foreign Affairs Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2008-09, Israel
and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, HC 261 Back
Ev 44 Back
Q 120 Back
HC Deb, 15 April 2002, col 720W, Departments of Defence, Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs, International Development and Trade
and Industry, Strategic Export Controls: Annual Report for
2000, Licensing Policy and Prior Parliamentary Scrutiny Response
of the Secretaries of State for Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth
Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry,
Cm 5629, October 2002, p 4, and First Joint Report from the Defence,
Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry
Committee of Session 2005-06, Strategic Export Controls: Annual
Report for 2004, Quarterly Reports for 2005, Licensing Policy
and Parliamentary Scrutiny, HC 873, Qq 269-280 Back
HC (2008-09) 178, paras 127-130 Back
HC (2008-09) 178, Qq 122, 126 Back
HC (2008-09) 178, Ev 108 Back
HC (2008-09) 178, Q 13 Back
HC Deb, 21 April 2009, col 8WS Back
HC (2008-09) 178, para 132 Back
Ev 29 Back
Cm 7698, p 11 Back
Ev 44 Back
Q 117 Back
Q 117 Back
Q 118 Back
Q 127 Back
HC (2008-09) 178, Qq 152-153 Back
HC (2008-09) 178, para 125 Back
HC (2008-09) 178, para 126 Back
Ev 30 Back
Ev 30-31 Back
Written evidence to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee
from Ian Lucas MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department
for Business, Innovation and Skills [MISC 106], dated 31 December
2009, published on the Foreign Affairs Committee website, www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/foreign_affairs_committee Back
Written evidence to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee
from Ian Lucas MP, 31 December 2009 Back
Q 126 Back
Q 128 Back
Q 136 Back
HC (2008-09) 178, para 126 Back
HC (2008-09) 178, para 125 Back
Q 123 Back
United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls: Annual Report 2008,
p 69 Back
European Council, "Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP
of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of
exports of military technology and equipment", Official
Journal of the European Union, 13 December 2008, L335/99-103,
HC Deb, 26 October 2000, col 202W Back
Ev 42 Back
Ev 41 Back
Ev 41-42 Back
Ev 51-52 Back
Ev 42 Back
Q 47 Back
See HM Government's Strategic Export Controls Annual Reports 2000-2008,
United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2000,
p 15, United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report
2001, p 14, United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual
Report 2002, Cm 5819, p 14,United Kingdom Strategic Export
Controls Annual Report 2003, Cm 6173, p 15, United Kingdom
Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2004, Cm 6646, p 13,United
Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2005, Cm 6882,
p 26, United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report
2006, Annex of Data, United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls
Annual Report 2007, Cm 7451, p 27, United Kingdom Strategic
Export Controls Annual Report 2008, Cm 7662, p 23, www.fco.gov.uk Back
Q 47 Back
Ev 46-50 Back
Q 104 Back
Ev 62 Back
Ev 62 Back
Q 104 Back
Q 105 Back
Ev 61 Back
Ev 62 Back