Arms Export

House of Lords written question – answered at on 10 May 2011.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 22 March (WA 136), why they have not made any assessment of the decisions by Germany, France and the United States to introduce legislation to control the re-export of arms; and what discussions they have had with officials from those countries on that issue.

Photo of Baroness Wilcox Baroness Wilcox The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

There has been no assessment by the UK of the actual decisions of these countries to adopt re-export control measures, but the UK has actively engaged in discussions with our international partners on the subject of re-export controls in the appropriate international fora. Discussions on arms export controls take place between EU member states in the Council Working Group on Conventional Arms and between participating states in the Wassenaar arrangement. The information we have received from EU partners-including France and Germany-on their re-export controls only serves to confirm the Government's view that there are very real problems with the enforcement of such controls that are common to all states that seek to operate them. These problems stem principally from the fact that breaches of re-export provisions occur outside the legal jurisdiction of the exporting state and the avenues for effective legal remedy are limited or non-existent.

The Government therefore have not considered it necessary to conduct any additional consultations with international partners on this subject and remain convinced that fully examining the risk of diversion of arms before deciding whether or not to grant an export licence, coupled with the negotiation and implementation of a robust and effective arms trade treaty, is the most effective way to address the issue of re-export.

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