The Defence Committee is one of four select committees that meet concurrently to consider UK arms export controls.
The Report ( PDF 1.78 MB) published today is a joint piece of work of the four committees, and we welcome the collaborative and consensus-based approach taken in its production. Given recent events in the Middle East and North Africa, the need to scrutinise the UK’s involvement in the export of arms has never been more clear.
While the Defence Committee supports the recommendations and conclusions in the Report, we have some reservations regarding the presentation of information on specific exports contained in Annex 4. We agreed to the content of the Report as published to expedite its release, but wish nonetheless to highlight our concerns.
The tables in Annex 4 collate data regarding selected exports in selected countries in 2009 and the first three quarters of 2010. While this is the first time the available public-domain information has been collated in this way, it is a snapshot, presented without qualification or context. These tables do not, for example, provide specific details regarding quantities of goods or types of licenses granted, or compare UK practice with other countries. Annex 4 should therefore be considered within the wider context of UK and international Strategic Export Controls.