Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) Press Notice

GOVERNMENT MUST ENSURE THAT UK CONTINUES TO WORK AT THE FOREFRONT OF NEGOTIATIONS FOR A STRONG INTERNATIONAL ARMS TRADE TREATY

A minority of dissenting countries must not be allowed to endanger negotiations for a global treaty, says four Parliamentary Select Committees.

The Committees on Arms Export Controls publish their annual report today which includes scrutiny of export licences granted in 2009 and examines the policy and enforcement of UK arms export controls.

The Committees welcomed the continued UK Government support for the Arms Trade Treaty being negotiated by the UN, but considered that there was a long way to go to achieve consensus amongst member states. The Committees recommended that the Government ensure that the UK negotiating team had sufficient resources and expertise to provide the best opportunity for the treaty to be signed by its 2012 deadline.

Chair of the Committees on Arms Export Controls, Roger Berry MP, says "The UK has continued to push for an international arms trade treaty that it is hoped will produce consistently high standards of export control systems across the globe. However, there is a long way to go to convince the sceptics and it is vitally important that the Government provides the UK negotiating team with the necessary resources now to enable it to work towards a strong treaty ."

The Committees repeat strong recommendations from previous reports that the Government establish a register of UK arms brokers and that the UK extend certain trade controls on activities by UK persons anywhere in the world. The Committees call for all residents in the UK and British citizens overseas to obtain trade control licences, or be covered by a general licence, before engaging in any trade in the goods featured on what is called "the Military List" of weapons and materiel classifications. The Committees also concluded that the Government must learn lessons from the necessary revocation in 2009 of licences for arms exports to Israel and Sri Lanka and take a longer term view when assessing the suitability of exports to less stable countries and regions.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

1. The Committees on Arms Export Controls consists of four Committees which meet together to consider the control of strategic exports, including weapons. The Committees involved are: Business, Innovation and Skills, Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development. The Chair for these meetings is Roger Berry MP, who is a member of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.

2. The Committees' main job is to review Government policy on licensing arms exports and licensing decisions. Each year the Government produces an annual report on Strategic Export Controls which the Committees scrutinise.

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