Select Committee on Trade and Industry Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office


  Your letter of 7 February set out certain requests arising from the Foreign Secretary's 30 January Evidence Session with the Committee and from written evidence submitted. I attach a Memorandum, setting out:

    (i)  responses to the requests posed in your 7 February letter;

    (ii)  additional information, including responses to some outstanding questions from your letter of 12  January.

  Some of the attached information is passed to the Committee in confidence, and is clearly marked as such. I would be grateful if you could ensure that this information is not published.

  The Foreign Secretary wishes to inform the Committee that in view of recent events in Israel since 28  September, the Government has decided that certain categories of equipment previously subject to Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs) should now be covered by Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs). This will permit us to judge applications case-by-case for specific quantities of the relevant equipment for export to named end-users. The companies concerned have now been informed.


I:  Information requested in 7 February letter from the Clerk of the Quadripartite Committee

  1.  Strategic export control legislation.

  2.  EU code of conduct consultations.

  3.  Wassenaar arrangement.

  4.  Foreign Secretary's opening address to the 13/14 February Round Table on small arms.

  5.  Export licence for guns for the Jamaican Constabulary Force.

  6.  Export licences to Israel for day/night vision equipment.

II:  Additional information

  7.  Proportion of export licence applications seen by FCO Ministers.


  8.  Zimbabwe.

  9.  China.

  10.  Senegal.


  1.  At Q 51 the Foreign Secretary offered to seek for the Committee an indication of the latest timetable for publication of the draft legislation on strategic export controls, and at Q49 to explore the possibility of examination of the DTI's drafting instructions on the Bill.

  DTI replied directly on this point (see Annex).

  2.  It would be helpful to have available details on the two cases of consultation where, following consultation, a Member State granted a licence for an export originally deemed similar to a UK-notified refusal (Q 59, 68).

  See the confidential Memorandum attached at Annex I.

  3.  The information sought at Q 71 on the minority in the Wassenaar Arrangement blocking the proposed extension would be helpful.

  Annex II[5] contains a full list of the States participating in the Wassenaar Arrangement. We need to work in partnership with all these Participating States if we are to make the Wassenaar Arrangement a more effective forum for promoting responsible strategic export control policies. It would not therefore be appropriate to go further than the statement on page 7 of the 1999 Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls.

  4.  Copies of the Foreign Secretary's opening address to the 13/14 February Round Table, and of the EU's paper referred to, would also be helpful (Q 87-8).

  The documents are attached at Annex III[6].

  5.  The Committee would welcome confirmation and clarification of the arrangements for the export licence for guns for the Jamaican police force, including the role of NGOs and the timing (Qq 109 and 113).

  The export licence application referred to is for pistols and ammunition to be supplied to the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF).

  The training for the JCF, mentioned by the Foreign Secretary, in human rights and the rule of law, has already commenced in Jamaica. It is being provided by Ms Florence O'Connor who has been contracted to carry out the work by the Jamaican Ministry of National Security and Justice. We understand that she started this work about a year ago. She works with all ranks below Inspector (the regional delegate to the International Red Cross deals with more senior officers). All new recruits to the JCF receive this training. Officers who are already in the service are also receiving the training on a rotational basis. We have received an assurance that the equipment will only be issued to officers who have undergone this training. It appears that Amnesty International are not involved, as we had thought.

  Following our discussions with the Jamaicans, they have confirmed that procedural changes will be made so that cases of shootings involving the police will be passed from the police internal Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) to the civilian manned Police Public Complaints Authority (PPCA). The Jamaican Government have confirmed that this is being progressed.

  Although this case has been reported in the media, the DTI had not yet completed their licensing procedures when the Foreign Secretary gave evidence to the Committee on 30 January. The DTI has now issued the licences.

  6.  Among the list of licences granted for export to Israel in 1998 are several for day/night vision equipment, specifically:



    545495; and


  It would be helpful to have any information available as to the nature and type of equipment with which these items are intended to be used.

  See the confidential Memorandum attached at Annex IV[7].


  7.  The Foreign Secretary offered to tell the Committee roughly what proportion of Export Licence Applications were seen by FCO Ministers (Q 23, 24).

  We estimate that between 5 and 10 per cent of SIELs processed by the FCO in 2000 were seen by Ministers.

  8.  Zimbabwe: The Government response to the Committee's conclusions on Zimbabwe referred to "seven OIELs for permanent exports issued between August 1998 and February 2000". In evidence forwarded to the Committee, there seem to be 13 (thirteen) such OIELs:

M/525146/98Thermal imaging equipment;
M/545528/98Sporting shotguns;
M/547254/98Telescopic sights for sporting arms;
M/531055/98Sporting shotgun cartridges;
M/544583/98Military aircraft spares (Government only);
M/545403/98Sporting air rifles;
M/533355/99Sporting rifles;
M/549672/99Air traffic control spares (Department of Civil Aviation);
M/552557/99Military utility vehicles spares;
M/549814/99Air traffic control spares (Department of Civil Aviation);
M/545530/99Shotguns and air rifles; and
M/551080/99Shotguns and rifles.

  It seems that Zimbabwe was removed as a permitted destination from six of these in February 2000 and from the remaining seven in May 2000. Clarification would be helpful, and confirmation that the reference to three OIELs being to named end-users is as set out above.

  It would also be helpful to have an explanation of the apparent discrepancy between removal of Zimbabwe from OIEL M/549814/99 in February 2000, but not from M/549672/99 until May 2000.

  We have checked the records: the correct figure is 12 OIELs. We regret the error. Of the OIELs on the list sent by the Committee, OIEL M/525146/48 was for temporary export, as previously notified to the Committee.

  A table is attached at Annex V1 showing when these OIELs, including M/525146/98, were issued and when Zimbabwe was removed from the OIELs as a permitted destination. Zimbabwe was inadvertently not removed from the coverage of M/544337/98 until April 2000[8]. Another table shows the five OIELs on this list under which exports to Zimbabwe were permitted only to named consignees.

  The Committee raised the apparent discrepancy between the removal of Zimbabwe from OIEL M/549814/99 in February 2000 but not from M/549672/99 until May 2000. It is not clear why action was taken on the former OIEL in February 2000, as we had assessed at that time that the goods covered by the OIEL were unlikely to be deployed in the DRC conflict. Zimbabwe should have been removed form this OIEL in May 2000, at the same time as action was taken on M/549672/99.

  9.  CHINA: Some technical clarification would be helpful of the reference to * * * .

  The * * * can provide such a capability although at the time the licence was issued there was no evidence to suggest that there was a risk that the Chinese might use it for such a purpose. An extract from Jane's is attached at Annex VI.1

  10.  SENEGAL—SIEL 553571: It would be helpful to have an explanation of why the licence was approved 12 days before agreement of the ECOWAS Code of Conduct, and what grounds there were or are for supposing that it would have been treated as an exception.

  The licence for a very small number of spare parts for machine guns for export to the Armed Forces in Senegal, which was issued on 12 March 1999, was considered carefully against the national criteria and those in the EU Code of Conduct on arms exports.

  We would have refused the licence if we had believed there was a clear risk that the equipment would be used in any way to contravene the UK national or EU Code of Conduct criteria.

  Given the limited amount of spares and the fact that the end-user was the Senegal Armed Forces, we are confident that this export would have been approved by the ECOWAS Secretariat as an exception to the Moratorium.

  Since its adoption on 24 March, the UK has fully supported the ECOWAS Moratorium and we have taken the provisions of the ECOWAS Code of Conduct fully into account when assessing relevant export licence applications.

2 March 2001

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