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Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House, in particular for the way in which he has led the House through the Bill. There has had to be a balance between practicality, technology and human rights. He has allowed us to have argument, debate and discussion and has lent his not inconsiderable weight when he believed that we had a point that needed to be made and has had the Bill corrected.

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I thank the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House for what he has done and for what he has just said and put on the public record. We have a significantly better Bill than we did when it arrived. The Bill will do the job as well as any Bill could be created to do. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 2 not moved.]

Lord Brightman: My Lords, I can only regret that we are being left in an unnecessary drafting quagmire. I cannot see that there is anything to be gained by retaining an amendment in its patchwork form, if, at no cost, it could be put in its final polished form. We have a duty to the public to send Bills from Parliament, where possible, in such a way that they can be easily read. However, I ought not to divide the House on my amendment.

[Amendment No. 3 not moved.]

On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons with amendments.

Export Control Bill

3.26 p.m.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Sainsbury of Turville.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


Clause 5 [General restriction on purposes of control orders]:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville moved Amendment No. 43:

    Page 4, line 17, leave out subsection (1) and insert—

"(1) Controls may only be imposed—
(a) for the purpose of giving effect to any Community provision or other international obligation of the United Kingdom; or
(b) in relation to a description of thing that is within one or more of the categories mentioned in the Schedule.
(1A) In subsection (1)—

    description of thing" means—

    (a) a description of goods (in the case of export controls or trade controls);

(b) a description of technology (in the case of transfer controls); or
(c) a description of technical assistance (in the case of technical assistance controls); and
"international obligation" includes an obligation relating to a joint action or common position adopted, or a decision taken, by the Council under Title V of the Treaty on European Union (provisions on a common foreign and security policy).

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(1B) The Schedule (which explains the categories in relation to which the different kinds of controls may be imposed by virtue of subsection (1)(b)) has effect."

The noble Lord said: The amendments tabled by the Government to Clause 5 and to the schedule are designed to clarify the role of the schedule and, in particular, put beyond doubt the Government's ability to impose controls in relation to any and all military goods and technologies. I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 43, 46, 72, 74, 75, 77, 80 and 81.

At Second Reading, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scott of Foscote, suggested that, although he understood the aim of the schedule as being to identify goods with particular characteristics that warranted their being subjected to export control, he was doubtful as to whether that was satisfactorily achieved. In particular, he queried whether the schedule would effectively catch all the firearms, military equipment and dual-use goods subject to control under the present regime. Other comments made in the House and elsewhere in the context of debate about the issue of sustainable development underlined the fact that there was a good deal of confusion as to the function of the schedule, which, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scott of Foscote, rightly suggested, is to identify the types of goods and technologies in relation to which controls may be introduced and the function of guidance in forming the basis for licensing decisions.

In the light of that, the Government have looked again at the schedule and Clause 5, which introduces it, and have concluded that they should be clarified to avoid the confusion that has arisen and put beyond any doubt the Government's ability to impose controls on all the firearms and other military equipment or technology as well as the paramilitary and dual-use equipment and technology that we currently control. We have also tabled amendments to strengthen the provisions on the guidance to be issued governing licensing decisions, which thereby does away with the need for a direct link between the schedule and the matters to be taken into account in such decisions. We shall debate those shortly, but I mention them now, as they will also contribute to clarifying the function of the schedule.

I shall explain in more detail what each government amendment to Clause 5 and the schedule will do. The key amendment to Clause 5 is Amendment No. 43. It will introduce new text to Clause 5 that makes clear the two basic reasons for which controls call be imposed; namely, to give effect to our Community and international obligations, on the one hand, and in relation to certain types of goods and technology and related technical assistance, as defined in the schedule, on the other.

The amendment renders unnecessary the provisions in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the schedule, which provide for controls to be imposed in relation to Community and international obligations. Amendment No. 72 would delete those paragraphs. Amendment No. 46 contains some purely consequential amendments needed to take account of the revised text to be introduced by Amendment No. 43.

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I turn to the amendments to the schedule. The key amendment is Amendment No. 74. This makes it clear that controls can be imposed in relation to military equipment and technology, irrespective of the consequence which its export, transfer or trade might have or which technical assistance provided in relation to it might have. It is clearly right that the Government should be able to continue to control export and related activities of all military equipment and technology, which of course forms the core of our strategic export control regime. While we believe that the schedule as currently drafted should allow this, we have concluded that it is right, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scott, recommended, to make that explicit both for the sake of transparency and to put the matter beyond any doubt.

I should perhaps observe at this point that most dual-use goods and technologies are controlled under the directly applicable European Community law, so it is not necessary or appropriate to refer directly to dual-use goods and technologies in the same way we refer to military goods or technologies. As I have already explained, Clause 5 as amended specifies that the Government can impose controls to meet Community obligations.

The new paragraphs on military equipment and technology do not replace the existing schedule, but supplement the existing provisions in the schedule. While the new paragraphs on military equipment and technology, together with the provisions in Clause 5 on international and European Community obligations, will provide the Government with the power to control all the military equipment and technology, and the vast majority of dual-use equipment and technology that we currently control, we need to continue to be able to impose controls on other items whose export, transfer or trade could have harmful consequences, or to which the provision of technical assistance could have harmful consequences.

I can best illustrate this by quoting a couple of examples of items we currently control which are neither controlled to meet Community or international obligations, nor are military equipment. We have introduced controls on certain non-military explosives because of the risk of these being used for terrorism and we have controls on certain paramilitary equipment, including equipment for which there has been evidence of its use in torture, because of the scope for these being used for internal repression or human rights abuses.

The table in the schedule therefore remains necessary to ensure that the Government can continue to place controls on these types of goods and technologies. Amendments Nos. 75 and 80 simplify the provisions which establish the role of the table and contribute to the overall clarification of the schedule which we believe our amendments as a whole achieve. Amendment No. 81 is purely consequential.

I believe that these amendments greatly improve the Bill by making much clearer the function of the schedule. The noble Lords, Lord Phillips, Lord

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Razzall and Lord Redesdale, have suggested some changes to our Amendment No. 43 and I shall be interested to listen to their proposals. I beg to move.

3.30 p.m.

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Tordoff): I call Amendment No. 43A, standing in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury.

Lord Redesdale: I should like to speak to Amendment No. 43B. My noble friend Lord Phillips will be speaking to Amendment No. 43A after me.

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