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EU Countries: Arms Trade

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to seek changes to the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports to prevent its circumvention by the re-export of arms between third countries. (154336)

The UK has one of the most rigorous and transparent export licensing regimes in the world. All UK export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Export Licensing Criteria on a case-by-case basis and will not be approved if the export contravenes the Criteria or other international commitments. Criterion Seven refers explicitly to

“The existence of a risk that the equipment will be diverted within the buyer country or re-exported under undesirable conditions”.

If the Government believe that there is a risk, then the application will be refused.

The Government are however, open-minded about the case for further enhancing export controls. On 18 June, the Government launched a review of the export control legislation introduced in 2004 under the Export Control Act 2002. This includes a public consultation that seeks comments on the impact and effectiveness of the legislation, and whether there is a need to change or enhance the controls further.