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Export Licences

Volume 523: debated on Thursday 17 February 2011

10. What assessment his Department has made of the administrative burden on businesses of the process for issuing export licences. (41351)

Export licensing needs to be thorough, especially where there are sensitive locations or uses. However, it is important that the Government continue to focus on keeping the costs to business down and we intend to do that.

Small businesses in my constituency of Redditch wishing to export to China have been victims of excessive red tape and delays in securing an export licence. One company has been waiting for months in respect of an order from China that would generate revenue and employment for the west midlands. Will the Minister take steps to reduce administration burdens on small and medium-sized enterprises and meet me and the company affected?

I should be more than happy to meet my hon. Friend. As she knows, two thirds of all applications are dealt with within 20 working days, but as she will appreciate this is sensitive equipment to a sensitive location. We need to ensure that we license only legitimate exports in these circumstances. I am pleased to say, however, that in this instance the licence has been granted.