HC Deb 13 May 1999 vol 331 cc195-6W
Mr. Kemp

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if errors have been identified in the information on export licensing decisions included in Part II of the Government's Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls; and if he will make a statement. [84388]

Dr. Howells

Regrettably, a small number of recording errors and omissions have been identified. These errors were identified in the course of work carried out to compile certain information requested by the quadripartite committee established to carry out a joint inquiry into the Government's first Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls. As was noted in the Report, human error cannot be eliminated altogether in the compilation of such a large body of data.

The recording errors identified are as follows:

Eleven refused applications were omitted from the data published in the Report. These did not cover goods specified as subject to control in the relevant legislation but goods subject to the end-use control because of concern about their use in weapons of mass destruction programmes.One licence, covering military imaging equipment, was described as covering exports to China but should have been described as covering exports to Taiwan.Two items for which a licence was refused were in error included in the list of military equipment licensed for export to Turkey.There was some duplication in a Table in the Report giving information on the coverage of Open Individual Export Licences issued during the period. The final, correct ratings of the goods concerned were given in the Table, but the original, incorrect ratings were not removed.Some destinations excluded from the coverage of 2 Open Individual Export Licences during the period were omitted from the relevant Table in the Report, as were some of the ratings of the goods covered by 1 such licence.Errata sheets will be placed in the Library of the House, and arrangements are being made to ensure that these sheets accompany all copies of the Report disseminated in future. The procedures for recording export licensing information and checking such records prior to publication are being reviewed with the aim of ensuring that these errors do not occur in future.