HC Deb 21 July 1994 vol 247 c535W
Sir John Hannam

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on recent developments in the negotiation of the EC dual-use goods regulation.

Mr. Needham

I am pleased to report that, in the last few days, a text of the regulation, and an associated intergovernmental decision in the form of a joint action under the common foreign and security policy, has been agreed by Ministers of all 12 member states. The agreement marks the first step towards a common system for the control of exports of sensitive goods from the Community. The regulation and joint action are intended to apply from 1 January 1995. Starting from that date, it is envisaged that there will be a transitional period to be reviewed within three years, and during which particularly sensitive dual-use goods will continue to be subject to licensing when despatched from one member state to another. During this period, member states will work to create a strong external control fence around the Community. This will be a prerequisite if all member states are to be in a position to honour their non-proliferation commitments. Depending on the success of this strengthening work and progress in harmonising national export control policies, the member states will decide at the end of the transitional period whether to introduce licence-free trade in all dual-use goods within the Community.