Trade and Industry written question – answered on 14th March 2005.

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Photo of Gisela Stuart Gisela Stuart Labour, Birmingham, Edgbaston

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effect on the UK defence industry of the proposed lifting of the EU embargo on sales of arms to China.

Photo of Geoff Hoon Geoff Hoon Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence

I have been asked to reply.

In terms of the direct impact on UK defence industry, lifting the EU arms embargo should not lead to an increase in arms exports to China. There are however concerns about the possible indirect consequences for UK defence industry if action were taken in the US in response to a lifting of the embargo. We do not consider that such action—which would be damaging to both countries' interests—would be justified. We continue to work with the US to achieve a satisfactory conclusion. I am in regular contact with my ministerial colleagues on this issue.

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