HC Deb 14 January 1998 vol 304 cc220-1W
Mr. Dawson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the United Kingdom will apply the EU arms embargo against China to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. [230191

Mr. Fatchett

Following the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong to China on 1 July 1997, we have conducted a detailed review of the applicability to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the European Union arms embargo against China. In view of the HKSAR's autonomy from mainland China in customs, trade and economic matters and its well-established strategic trade control system, we have concluded that its access to a broad range of strategic commodities from the UK for civil end-use should be preserved. The DTI will therefore issue a new Open General Export Licence and Open General Transhipment Licence to allow the continued export and transhipment of dual-use goods to the HKSAR for civil end-use.

As for the export of strategic goods for military end-use, we have concluded that, in order to fulfil our obligations under the EU embargo, goods which we would not approve for export to the Chinese armed forces in mainland China should not be permitted for export for military end-use in the HKSAR. Goods for military end-use will therefore be subject to individual licensing requirements.

These changes will take effect on 23 January.