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UK arms exports in 2019 inquiry launched

9 February 2021

The Committees on Arms Export Controls launches an inquiry into the Government’s 2019 Strategic Export Controls Annual Report (published in November 2020), with a focus on enforcement and compliance matters.

This inquiry builds on issues identified during the scoping evidence sessions that CAEC has undertaken since it was re-established.

We welcome submissions from anyone with answers to the questions in the call for evidence. You can submit evidence until Monday 8 March 2021. Guidance for organisations or individuals submitting written evidence to a Committee can be found here.

Terms of reference

(a) UK arms exports in 2019, including:

  • The trends in the statistics and information presented in the 2019 Annual Report, the implications of those trends, and any changes in the transparency of the reporting;
  • Areas of improvement and areas of concern or omission from the 2019 Report; and
    • The potential impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on arms export controls.

(b) Enforcement of export controls and compliance audits, including:

  • The Government/ECJU/HMRC’s approach to encouraging export controls compliance, and its enforcement action against breaches of the controls;
  • How these compare with other countries;
  • Trends in the use of enforcement and compliance measures, and in the use of particular enforcement tools available — compliance warning letters, seizures, compound penalties, prosecutions, etc;
  • The scale and adequacy of enforcement and compliance sanctions available;
  • The adequacy of enforcement and compliance resources, staff levels and budgets;
  • The rationale and adequacy of the Government’s licence compliance checking regime, both in terms of on-site inspections in the UK and any checks — in-country or ‘remotely’ — on UK-based businesses’ activities undertaken overseas;
  • The scope for more extensive or deeper auditing of the end-use of UK arms exports and lessons from the experiences of other countries systems; and
  • Would physical overseas post-shipment on-site checks and verification lead to improved application of the Consolidated Criteria?

The Committee is unable to consider individual cases but may use them to highlight overarching policy concerns. If you anticipate such issues arising, you should discuss with the Clerk of the Committee how this might affect your submission.

Further information

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