8 Sustainable developmentCriterion
104. Criterion 8 of the Consolidated EU and National
Arms Export Licensing Criteria as set out in Annex 1 to this report
The compatibility of the arms exports with the
technical and economic capacity of the recipient country, taking
into account the desirability that states should achieve their
legitimate needs of security and defence with the least diversion
for armaments of human and economic resources.
105. Our predecessor Committees considered how Criterion
8 of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria
was being applied by the UK Government when licence applications
were being assessed, and the inconsistencies between different
EU states' applications.
A seminar on the application of Criterion 8 within the EU was
held in Brussels on 24 November 2010, hosted by the Dutch government.
The FCO Minister. Mr Alistair Burt, told us the seminar had been
successful in its objective of sharing best practice amongst member
It was recognised that the criterion is one of
the most difficult and complex of all the criteria to apply, and
it was agreed that we would benefit from further discussion on
the issue, particularly to ensure uniformity of applications.
We will be returning to the issue.
Regarding the UK's low use of Criterion 8, the FCO
Minister, Mr Alistair Burt, said:
... our experience is that, in applications to
the United Kingdom, a number of cases where ultimately criterion
8 might be applied are stopped from getting that far because,
in the discussions taken forward, it becomes clear that a licence
is not going to be issued. Accordingly, we rarely have to apply
criterion 8 as the final decision maker.
106. According to Oxfam, Pakistan's estimated combined
budget for health, social protection and the environment for 2010-11
is 77 million, while the EU arms exports to Pakistan in
2008 were 685 million.
This example is presented as one case of how arms exports can
affect the Government spending priorities of a developing country.
We asked the FCO Minister, Mr Alistair Burt, about this. He responded:
Your concern about the potential risk of these
exports, bearing in mind the development needs of the country,
are very real and we share them. That is why the criteria are
there, but there are also other factors to consider. In highlighting
Pakistan, we are discussing a country with so many difficult issues,
including security and protection. That is just an example of
how difficult it can actually be.
107. We conclude that deciding whether to approve
arms exports to developing countries in relation to Criterion
8 can be difficult given that other policy considerations may
need to be taken into account. However, we recommend that in its
response to this report, the Government provides a full statement
of the methodology it uses in relation to Criterion 8 in deciding
whether or not a specific arms export licence should be approved.
165 CAEC, Scrutiny of Arms Export Controls (2010),
Session 2009-10, HC 202 Back
Oxfam and DFID provided us with copies of their presentations.
Q 126 Back
Q 127 Back
Oxfam in November 2010 at an EU Seminar: Back
Q 131 Back