FAO: Newsdesks - 8th November 2001
Huge Gaps in Government's Export Bill
CAAT would prefer to be welcoming the passing of the Export Control Bill in the House of Commons today. It is the first bill in 60 years intended to clamp down on damaging arms exports. CAAT welcomes the bill's provision to curb the brokering of dangerous weaponry by UK citizens and companies. However three vital areas are missing from the bill.
1) End-use controls: As recommended by the 1996 Scott Report, which highlighted the diversion of UK equipment to Iraq.
Richard Bingley of CAAT said: "It appears the bill does nothing to enforce end-use controls of our weapons exports. This is pretty galling really, seeing as the Labour Party besmirched the last Conservative government as sleazy over 'Arms to Iraq', and said they would implement the recommendations of the Scott Report."
2) Licensed production: Equipment the UK licenses for production abroad (countries include Turkey, Pakistan, China, and the Philippines) is still not brought under UK export controls. Equipment the UK licenses for production abroad will therefore still fall into areas of deep international concern;
3) Prior scrutiny: Parliamentary checks on proposed arms deals (as in the case of the US and Sweden) need to be implemented as recommended by a recent Quadripartite Committee meeting. Stephen Byers, the Trade and Industry Secretary, said at the time it would be "foolish" to ignore feelings of the Committee.
Richard Bingley of CAAT said: "Though curbing brokering will do some good, the real meat of what needs to be done lies in the constant checking of weapons exports before and after they leave this country. Therefore, this Export Bill entirely misses the mark."
For more information please contact Richard Bingley on +44-(0)-20 7 281 0297 or 07947 230426