VIII TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: CLAUSE 4
87. In June 2000 the EU Council agreed a Joint Action
on the control of technical assistance for WMD programmes.
The existing proposals meet the UKs obligations.
The Joint Action also obliged member States to consider applying
such controls to conventional military end-uses. Cm 5091 therefore
consults on the introduction of control of technical assistance
to conventional military end-uses in any embargoed destination,
including those subject to a national embargo.
Some UN and EU embargoes already provide for controls covering
technical assistance; some apparently do not. As we have noted
in the past, there are a range of embargoes, interpreted differently
by different Member States.
88. Some concern was expressed in evidence from the
DMA that the Government was contemplating the introduction of
something equivalent to the US-style Technical Assistance Agreements
These seek to restrain the passage of information to foreign nationals,
even if employed by the company concerned, and present problems
for UK companies.
89. Cm 5091 also raises the possibility of controls
on technical assistance preventing companies from meeting contractual
obligations entered into before the embargo was imposed.
The introduction of controls means that a licence would be required
for technical assistance, not that it would be refused. For example,
the UK is reported to have continued to supply equipment to China
for which there was a contract in force after the 1989 EU embargo.
Technical assistance is no different. We were indeed surprised
to learn that such assistance to embargoed countries is not already
licensable. The DMA told us that technical assistance was often
part of a package requiring licensing and that they were uncertain
as to the significance of the proposal. 
We recommend a clearer exposition in
response to this Report of the current situation on technical
assistance controls, so that the House will be in a better situation
to assess the proposals now being made.
143 2000/401/CFSP Back
Q 79 Back