Supplementary memorandum from the Foreign
and Commonwealth Office in response to follow-up questions from
the Quadripartite Committee relating to the Foreign Secretary's
oral evidence session of 21 March 2002
Inquiry into the Annual Report on Strategic
Export Controls 2000
SECTION A: INDIVIDUAL
1. Israel: In his answer to Q
13 of the oral evidence, the Secretary of State undertook to write
to the Committee giving further details of his inquiries into
how UK-made components had come to be used in the Occupied Territories
in contravention of the undertakings given by the government of
The Government will write separately on the
2. Sri Lanka: Annex D of the
Government's memorandum gives details of some items that these
were refused licences for export to Sri Lanka on grounds of the
risk that they might be used for internal repression, while answer
20 (in the confidential annex to the main memorandum) reveals
that apparently more lethal weapons were licensed for export to
a very similar end user. Can the Government explain this apparent
See Confidential Annex.
(a) In his answer to Q 38 of the oral evidence,
the Secretary of State undertook to provide information on whether
Tanzanian ATC system was the beneficiary of an ECGD guarantee.
This transaction has not benefited from ECGD support
(b) In his answers in private session, the
Secretary of State referred to the cost-benefit analysis he had
requested on the purchase, and its significance in reaching his
decision. Could you provide the Committees with a summary of
this analysis, in confidence if necessary?
As the Secretary of State indicated to the
Committee, calculations and analyses were made in order to help
Ministers assess whether the proposed export would seriously undermine
the economy or seriously hamper the sustainable development of
the recipient country. Information whose disclosure would harm
the frankness and candour of internal discussion is exempt from
disclosure under Part 2, Section 2 of the Code of Practice on
Access to Government Information. However, further consideration
is being given as to whether, consistent with the Code, a summary
of the kind requested by the Committee could be provided in confidence.
We shall write again to the Committee as soon as possible.
(c) In the rubric to Criterion 8 in the Annual
Report, it states that the Government "will take into account,
in the light of information from relevant sources such as . .
. World Bank . . . whether the proposed export would seriously
undermine the economy or seriously hamper the sustainable development
of the recipient country.". In the light of this statement,
why was the decision to grant the licence taken before the final
opinion of the World Bank, taking account of the findings of the
ICAO, was known?
See Confidential Annex.*
(d) The Committees understand that the payment
of overseas aid to the Tanzanian Government was recently suspended.
Why was this done?
DFID provides budget support to countries
where it is confident of a shared commitment to poverty eradication
and that this commitment is fully reflected in the allocation
and management of public expenditure in the country concerned.
As such, DFID has to be assured that the resources allocated through
the budget will be used effectively for the purposes intended,
and produce value for money. The ATC contract raised a number
of questions. For instance about the extent to which, given very
scarce resources, the proposed purchase was a priority in terms
of the poverty reduction programme, whether the equipment meets
fully Tanzania's civil aviation requirements, and whether the
proposed solution is cost effective. There was concern also whether
further investment was either planned or necessary to meet Tanzania's
requirements and whether this was reflected in Tanzania's forward
investment programme. These are primarily questions for the Government
of Tanzania but of course are of direct interest to those donors
providing support through the budget. That is why the Government
of Tanzania has given a commitment to a further technical review
with the International Civil Aviation Organisation and that the
government is prepared to work closely with development partners
to reach a mutually acceptable solution on this issue. There is
consequently a pause in the disbursement of DFID budget support
whilst this process takes place.
4. Zambia: Answer 27(a) in the
confidential Annex to the Government's main memorandum reveals
the intended end-user of 400 sub-machine guns licensed for export
to Zambia. The memorandum states that the risk of equipment being
used for internal repression is assessed carefully when export
licences to Zambia are considered, and that Amnesty International
reports are studied in that context. A recent Amnesty report states
that "Contempt for human rights remains embedded in the Zambian
police force, whose officers shoot and kill as an alternative
to arrest." What undertakings were sought about the use
to which the 400 sub-machine guns for export to Zambia would be
put, before the licence was allowed?
The Department sought further clarification
of the licence application through the High Commission in Lusaka
before the licence was issued. They were satisfactorily assured
by the High Commission that the equipment was part of a legitimate
and long awaited up-grade for the end-user in Zambia.
SECTION B: GENERAL
5. The answer to question 29(b) of the Government's
memorandum states that the DfID was consulted on 717 SIEL applications
(a) To how many did DfID raise objections
on Criterion 8 grounds?
As pointed out in the Government's 27 February
memorandum, views expressed by any individual Department involved
in the licensing process fall under the description of "internal
discussion and advice" the disclosure of which would in this
case harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion. The
information is therefore being withheld on the basis of Exemption
2 of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government information.
(b) Did DfID raise objections on other
grounds, and what were they?
(c) Can you express the figures for the
number of applications called-in by DfID for each year since 1997
(i) in numerical terms and (ii) as a percentage of all SIEL application?
|No. of OIEL applications circulated to DfID
|No. of SIEL applications circulated to DfID
|Percentage of total SIEL applications||5.6
(d) Could you also give (i) the numbers of applications
in each year to which DfID objected and (ii) the numbers of those
to which DfID objected for which a licence was eventually granted?
See reply to 5(a)
SECTION C: FORMAT
6. Military List Ratings: On page 12 of the
Annual Report it states that, "Because of the increased detail
provided on items licensed for export, no information is provided
on the ratings . . .". Can the Government enlarge on this
statement, particularly with reference to the balance between
the apparently increased transparency achieved by reference to
summary descriptions and the apparent loss of transparency effected
by removal of the Military List ratings?
The Government did not intend to reduce the transparency
of the annual reports by removing the military list ratings of
items licensed for export. The Government judged that the inclusion
of summary descriptions of these items provided more transparency
than the military list ratings, since the summary descriptions
can be readily understood by non-specialist readers without reference
to the military list. The inclusion of military list ratings as
well as summary descriptions would have significantly increased
the size of the report, making both its internet and printed versions
more unwieldy, and increasing the cost to the reader of the printed
It is too late to include military list ratings as well
as summary descriptions in the next annual report, production
of which is already well under way. However, the Government is
willing to consider including both these types of information
in future reports if the Committee wishes, on the understanding
that this might have implications for the cost and accessibility
of future reports.
7. Six-Nation Framework Agreement: Under the
Agreement, the new licences for exports between the members of
the Agreement will be called Global Project Licences.
(a) Will Global Project Licences be required to specify
what items may be exported under them (as OIELs do) or will they
only need to indicate what project the goods are for?
The form of GPLs is yet to be decided. We do not yet know
whether goods will be specified in full. These issues are under
consideration in consultation with Framework Agreement partners.
There will be the same level of transparency over GPLs as other
(b) For how long will a GPL be valid?
This is also still under consideration
(c) The Agreement also includes provision for a list
of permitted export destinations for countries to which all members
have agreed in respect of individual programmes. The list will
apparently not be published as it will be classified commercial
in confidence. Why?
The lists of the permitted export destinations for jointly-produced
defence products will be based on the confidential marketing plans
and market research of the manufacturers involved in any particular
programme (subject to the agreement of all Framework Agreement
partners taking part in that programme). These lists are commercially
sensitive because their publication could alert international
competitors to the market opportunities which Framework agreement
exporters are intending to persue. Although the permitted export
destination lists might inform the licensing decision, they are
not export licences. Details of GPLs and any other licences issued
in relation to collaborative programmes/projects under the Framework
Agreement will be published in the Annual Report.
(d) Will the list be available to the defence manufacturing
Only those companies and the Partner Nations' governments
that are involved in any particular programme will have access
to the permitted export destination lists related to that programme.
SECTION D: ADMINISTRATION
8. (a) What is hindering the Government's progress
towards its target for the processing of SIEL applications within
20 working days?
The Government recognises the problems that any delay in
the processing of an individual export licence application can
cause the exporter concerned. Applications for export licences
can take some time to process, especially if the situation in
the country concerned is fluid. It is important that the Government
takes the time necessary to assess, for example, a new regime's
behaviour and intentions before deciding on outstanding export
HMG is making strenuous efforts to improve performance.
DTI introduced the ELATE computerised licensing system in March
1999. This gave exporters the opportunity to submit standard individual
export licence applications on disk. Building on the success of
that system, DTI's Electronic Licensing via the Internet System
(ELVIS) initiative aims to enable exporters to send in licence
applications, including appropriate supporting documentation,
over the Internet by 2003 so as further to improve the efficiency
of the licensing process. FCO is also introducing an enhanced
IT system this year to handle ELAs electronically, as well as
enhanced procedures for tracking and chasing licence applications.
Similarly, MOD are actively engaged in enhancing their export
licensing databases. Jointly, all Government Departments involved
in export licensing are constructively reviewing existing structures,
systems and processes with a view to modernising them where necessary
and to accommodate the new demands resulting from provisions in
the Export Control Bill.
The Government has published commitments to the exporter,
setting out the targets for Standard Individual Export Licences
(SIELs). The target is to provide a substantive response to applications
for standard individual export licences within 20 working days
for 70 per cent of applications. (This target applies as soon
as full documentation in support of applications is provided).
Government performance against the 70 per cent target improved
from 52.1 per cent in 1998 to 56.9 per cent in 1999 and 57 per
cent in 2000. Our current calculation of performance for 2001
is 60 per cent.
(b) Does the Government have any recent information
about the rate at which applications are processed in other EU
We do not have definitive figures for European or other
partners. Informal soundings indicate that many other countries
do not publish targets for processing licences, and face similar
challenges in turning licence applications around quickly.
9. Processing of appeals: The Government's
target of providing a decision on appeals against refusal of an
SIEL within 30 working days from receipt was not achieved in any
of the 15 eligible cases received in 2000. The Government's memorandum
(Q 39) indicates that a review of the appeals target is in progress.
(a) By how far are Government Departments overshooting
deadlines on appeals?
The length of time by which the Government misses the target
of 30 working days on appeals varies from case to case. It is
important to bear in mind that only a very small proportion of
export licence applications are refused. Decisions to refuse are
not taken lightly. Appeals against refusal will often raise difficult
and complex issues. This and the need to consider all relevant
information, including the new information provided by the appellant,
the fact that appeals are considered independently of and at a
more senior level than those advisers and officials who were involved
in the original applications, all mean that consideration of appeals
is never a mere formality and the process can be lengthy.
(b) How, more precisely, is the Government "continuing
to look at the appeals target"? Has this process been completed,
and if not when will it be?
The revision of the appeals targets requires significant
research and analysis and will take some time. This work is in
hand; we cannot yet say when it will be finished.
(c) Have any SIEL refusals or appeal decisions made
in 2000 been the subject of Judicial Review?
10. End-use monitoring:
(a) For how many destinations is end-use monitoring
routinely carried out to verify the proper use of the goods exported
The surest way to prevent UK arms ending up in the wrong
hands is to examine export licences carefully at the licensing
stage and to refuse an export licence when there is an unacceptable
risk of diversion or misuse, ie before a licence is issued. All
our overseas posts have standing instructions to report on any
allegations of misuse of UK-origin defence equipment so that it
can be taken into account in the licensing process. But specific
commitments to Post export monitoring are rare. It is neither
practical nor useful to do so for all or even most defence exports
over their lifetime with the end-user. We satisfy ourselves as
to the end-user's authenticity before issuing a licence.
Such monitoring would be extremely resource-intensive.
It would generally require a degree of technical expertise on
part of those involved. And post-export monitoring cannot prevent
the diversion or misuse of equipment-it could only confirm a diversion
or misuse after it has taken place - although it can inform future
In certain limited circumstances, we are willing to undertake
monitoring of equipment in the recipient country when we believe
that this would genuinely help to minimise the risk of diversion
and where such monitoring is practicable. Political officers or
Defence attaches may do this during the course of normal political
duties, travel through their host countries, or usual contacts
with defence/security force interlocutors.
Some examples of such post-export monitoring are contained
in the 1999 Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls. The Committee
is also respectfully reminded of the evidence given by the Secretary
of State in respect of Israel.
(b) What proportion of SIELs are subject to such monitoring?
Specific commitments to monitor the end-use of arms exports
are rare. However, as pointed out above, all our overseas posts
have standing instructions to report on any allegations of misuse
of UK-origin defence equipment.
(c) What plans are there to undertake an assessment
of the US Department of Defense's "Golden Sentry" end-use
We are aware of the development of the so called Golden
Sentry programme. We understand it is a system still under development.
We will of course discuss this system with the US authorities
just as we discuss the full range of export control issues with
SECTION E: POLICY
11. In his answer to Q 25 of the oral evidence, the Secretary
of State undertook to write to the Committee about the case for
a thorough-going look at the EU Code of Conduct in the light of
events since 11 September. When might the Committees expect
The Government is examining the case for reviewing the
EU Code of Conduct in the light of events since 11 September.
The Committee will be informed of the Government's conclusions
on this issue as soon as possible.
12. The Government's memorandum constantly stresses that
decisions are made on a "case-by-case" basis. Is
the cumulative effect of arms exports to a particular destination
ever taken into account when considering a SIEL application?
The consolidated EU and national arms export criteria set
out the issues to be taken into account in reaching licensing
decisions. The cumulative effects of the purchase of arms by recipient
countries may well be a relevant consideration in the assessment
of a licence application under the criteria. But decisions on
individual applications must be made on a case by case basis against
13. What exactly is the nature of the advice on licence
applications requested from DfID? Is it simply to consider the
application in relation to criterion 8, or is it to consider the
application in relation to more specific analyses and assessments
of the country's situation, including its developmental needs
The Consolidated EU and national arms export licensing
criteria are the Government's stated policy in relation to export
licence applications, and set out clearly the considerations taken
into account by the Government. The Government does not apply
any unannounced criteria to export licensing decisions.
14. The Government's memorandum (Q 44) states that the
UK will "continue to work for the full implementation of
the OSCE Document on Small Arms". What are the key areas
on which the Government is seeking to make progress in the near-term,
and who or what are the major obstacles to that progress?
The Government has been active in the OSCE and with the
OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC) in Vienna in working to
sustain the steady momentum towards implementation of the OSCE
Document, most notably at and following an important seminar on
implementation measures in Vienna in February 2002. This was held
in part preparation for the second information exchange under
the Document, due in June 2002. This will focus on exports and
imports within OSCE, surpluses and destruction and on stockpile
management and security.
Although the June 2001 information exchange by OSCE Participating
States was the broadest international such exchange on small arms
and light weapons ever undertaken, returns varied greatly in their
coverage and detail. Countries can have very different and, at
times, seemingly incompatible systems, practices and terminology.
The Government believes it is important to agree model frameworks
or templates for information returns to which Participating States
may flexibly respond. These templates will best facilitate consistency
and more thorough comparisons in the future. We therefore welcome
the work of the CPC in preparing such templates. We are also preparing
a prompt and comprehensive national return for June 2002 that
should serve as a model for other countries.
Rather than having to address major obstacles at this stage,
the extent to which OSCE Participating States reflect recent discussions
in their own returns in June will be a useful gauge of their willingness
to use such model frameworks. The Government will then assess
the extent to which it may need further to encourage other OSCE
Participating States to share experiences and lessons learned
on, for example, weapons destruction and safe storage in working
towards the longer-term OSCE aim of best practice guidance on
the areas covered by the Document.
Export Control Bill
The Foreign Secretary would like to clarify a point he
made in relation to the Export Control Bill. In reply to question
22 he made reference to the more formal process for approval of
the Government's arms export licensing criteria under the Export
Control Bill. For the avoidance of doubt, he wants to make clear
that he was referring to the more formal approval system that
would be used within Government as a result of the requirement
in the Bill for guidance issued under it, to be published and
laid before Parliament (the Consolidated Criteria will constitute
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