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Conventional Weapons: Export Policy

Volume 592: debated on Thursday 30 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What assessment was made during the Strategic Defence Review of the threats posed to United Kingdom armed services by the proliferation of and trade in conventional weapons; and what are the implications of any such assessment for United Kingdom arms export control policy. [HL2899]

The Strategic Defence Review assessed that contingencies arising from the United Kingdom's vital stake in European security, our very important interests in the surrounding regions and our wider international responsibilities could each involve us in modern conventional warfare. In all three cases, because of the increasing proliferation of conventional weapons and technology, we concluded that we could face opponents equipped with the most powerful modern equipment.The risk of their use against UK forces is one of the factors that we take into account when considering export licence applications for defence equipment, in accordance with the criteria announced by the Foreign Secretary on 28 July 1997 and the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports adopted on 8 June this year. The Ministry of Defence provides advice to other departments on current and emerging security threats as part of the MoD input to export licensing decisions.