The Committees on Arms Export Controls launch new inquiry

25 July 2013

The Committees on Arms Export Controls task throughout the year is to scrutinize the UK Government’s arms export controls procedures and legislation, individual arms export licence decisions, arms export policies, and the UK’s role in international arms control agreements.

The Committees constitute Members of the Business, Innovation and Skills, Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development, House of Commons’ Select Committees meeting concurrently.

Quote from the Chairman of the Committees, Sir John Stanley

"The Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) will be continuing their rigorous scrutiny of all aspects of the Government’s arms exports and arms control policies.

The Committees will be focusing particularly on the more than 3,000 extant Government approved licences, worth more than £12 billion, for strategic goods being exported to the 27 Countries listed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as being of the greatest Human Rights concern, together with 5 additional Countries identified as Countries of Concern by the Committees themselves. The details of these strategic goods, the value of each Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL) and the country to which the Government has approved the export licence were set out for the first time by the Committees in their most recent Report (HC 205) published on 17 July 2013. The Committees will be scrutinizing whether these licences are in accordance with the Government’s policy, confirmed to the Committees by the Foreign Secretary, that: ‘The long-standing British position is clear: we will not issue licences where we judge there is a clear risk that the proposed export might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, or which might be used to facilitate internal repression.’ "

For the first time, the Committees’ 2013 Report (HC 205) detailed for each of the FCO’s 27 named Countries of Human Rights concern the number of extant strategic export licences for each country, their value (where provided by the Government) and the nature of the strategic exports that have been approved. The table summarising this information can be found at page 32 of Volume I of the Report. (N.B The monetary values shown are for SIELs only as the Government does not supply the value of OIEL licences.)

The nature of the extant strategic exports to each of the countries in the table is at Annex 13 of Volume II to the Report (HC 205) (PDF 4.8 MB).

The Committees have provided the equivalent information for 5 other Countries of concern. Four of these countries — Bahrain, Egypt, Madagascar and Tunisia — are countries where there are grounds for Human Rights concerns, but are not currently within the FCO’s designated 27 Countries of Human Rights concern. The remaining country — Argentina — is a country of arms export concern by virtue of its policy towards the Falkland Islands. The table that summaries the information for the other 5 Countries of concern is at page 33 of Volume I of the Report. N.B The monetary values shown in the table are for SIELs only as the Government does not supply the value of OIEL licences.)

The nature of the extant strategic exports to each of the countries in the Table is at Annex 13 of Volume II to the Report (HC 205) (PDF 4.09 MB).


The Committees will be taking both Oral and Written evidence.

The Committees invite Written evidence in accordance with the guidelines stated below by midday on Friday 27 September 2013.

Submitting written evidence

As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committees is piloting a new web portal for online submission of written evidence.

The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing. The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act. We may also ask you to comment on the process of submitting evidence via the web portal so that we can look to make improvements. If you have any queries or concerns about the collection and use of this information or do not wish your details to be used for the purpose of collecting feedback, please advise the Committee providing your full name, address, and if relevant your organisation.

Each submission should:

  1. be no more than 3,000 words in length
  2. be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible
  3. have numbered paragraphs
  4. include a declaration of interests.

If you need to send a paper copy please send it to:
The Clerk, Committees on Arms Export Controls, Committee Office,
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committees’ report can be sent to you upon publication.

Please also note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committees, unless publication by the person or organization submitting it is specifically authorized by the Committees.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committees. The Committees normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committees will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. 

Guidance on submitting evidence to Select Committees

 Image: iStockphoto

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