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Export Controls: Annual Report

Volume 694: debated on Tuesday 24 July 2007

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Kim Howells) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The 2006 annual report on strategic export controls will be published at 11 am today as a Command Paper. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of the House. The report describes UK policy and international developments in export control regimes, as well as information on export licensing decisions taken during 2006.

The annual report on strategic export controls is an innovation of this Government. This report, the tenth annual report—the first was published in 1997—builds upon improvements made in last year’s report. Our export licensing system is one of the most rigorous and transparent regimes in the world, and the annual report, in this improved format, symbolises our continued commitment to accountability and transparency by presenting detailed information in a more modern and user-friendly format.

Since 2004, the Government have also produced detailed quarterly reports which are made available on the internet, ensuring that the UK provides some of the most open and timely export licensing information available anywhere in the world. This year the data from the quarterly reports have been consolidated into one document on the CD-ROM that accompanies the annual report, to make it easier to navigate. Information on licence refusals and fuller information on trade control (trafficking and brokering) licences issued during 2006 is also included, as well as details on the EU torture regulation, which is included for the first time. This year we have also included three case-study examples of policy analysis of our decisions on licences for embargoed destinations.

The complete report will be made available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website and will be published through the Stationery Office.