Skip to main content

Arms Trade

Volume 707: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to prevent British arms-brokers operating overseas from trading weapons and ammunition without effective control and supervision; and, if so, when. [HL1075]

Since their introduction in 2004, the UK's trade controls have covered trading by UK persons overseas in torture equipment and long-range missiles and in any military list goods for supply to an embargoed destination. The Trade in Goods (Categories of Controlled Goods) Order 2008, which came into force on 1 October 2008, extended these extraterritorial controls to small arms, MANPADs and cluster munitions. The trading activities of UK persons anywhere in the world are therefore now controlled for these goods and, where relevant, their ammunition.

The Export Control Order 2008, which comes into force on 6 April 2009, will further extend the extraterritorial trade controls to cover light weapons and will introduce controls on the transport of these and other similar goods of heightened concern and their ammunition between overseas countries.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will legislate to control arms transfers by British companies' subsidiaries which are located overseas. [HL1076]

The Government gave careful consideration to the scope for introducing specific controls on the activities of overseas subsidiaries of British companies during the 2007 review of export controls. As noted in their responses to the review consultation, the Government concluded that to do so would not be legally viable and that such controls would be impossible to enforce. Furthermore, effective controls already apply to the export and trade from the UK of controlled goods and technology that an overseas subsidiary is likely to require. The Government are also pursuing, via the EU, further powers which, while not specific to overseas subsidiaries, would enhance our ability to control the export of goods that do not normally require a licence when they leave the UK but might be routed via overseas subsidiaries for use by the military in destinations of concern.