HC Deb 19 June 2002 vol 387 c350W
Bob Russell

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 20 May 2002,Official Report, column 50W, on export licences, when she will complete processing the export licence application number 32368 made on 7 March by Pultrex Ltd. of Colchester; what the explanation is for the delay in dealing with the application; and what action she plans to take to improve the timescale of processing export licence applications. [61504]

Nigel Griffiths

Licences to export arms and other items whose export is controlled for strategic reasons are issued by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, acting through the Export Control Organisation (ECO). A decision has not yet been reached on export licence application number 32368, but will be taken as quickly as possible, consistent with the need to give full consideration to the issues involved including the status of end-users. The application is currently outstanding with our advisers.

The Government recognise that the system for processing export licence applications requires continuous improvement if we are to deliver a more efficient and effective export licensing system, which is both accountable and transparent. The ECO has introduced a number of initiatives to reduce the time taken to process export licence applications. These include the roll-out of new enhanced IT systems that will mean, for example, allowing exporters to apply for a standard individual export licence over the internet.