HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 cc746-9W
Angus Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many(a) civilian security personnel and (b) armed services personnel his Department assigned to the Defence Systems Equipment International Exhibition in London; and if he will make a statement. [129692]

Mr. Ingram

The security arrangements for Defence Systems Equipment International, including the assignment of civilian security personnel, were the responsibility of the exhibition organisers (Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd.). 31 Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) officers were deployed to the exhibition site, with an additional small marine unit of 12 MDP officers being present at the request of the Metropolitan police.

Ministry of Defence civilian and armed forces personnel attended the event in an official capacity, but details are not held centrally.

Dr. Cable

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for which foreign delegations attending the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition in September the Government paid for(a) travel, (b) accommodation and (c) hospitality; and if he will make a statement. [129775]

Angus Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the country delegations(a) invited to and (b) attending the Defence Systems Equipment International Exhibition in London; what role his Department had in formulating the list of invited countries; and if he will make a statement. [129693]

Mr. Ingram

Most of the funding for the attendance of official overseas defence delegations at the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition was provided by the exhibition organisers and defence companies.

However, in addition, the official overseas delegations that attended the exhibition as guests of Her Majesty's Government accepted some contribution from the Ministry of Defence towards their visit for travel, accommodation and/or hospitality.

The MOD Defence Export Services Organisation prepares a list of countries to receive official invitations to the exhibition, taking into consideration current marketing campaigns and longer-term prospects for business with the countries concerned. The list is then passed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for consideration. Throughout the process. political issues, arms embargoes and current international relations imperatives are also considered, as is the cost involved in hosting the delegations.

Of the 62 countries invited to attend the exhibition as guests of HMG, 56 accepted. The list of countries invited to attend is as listed, with the countries that declined highlighted in italic.

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • PRC (China)
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • 748W
  • Egypt
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Republic of Korea
  • Kuwait
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland1
  • Syria
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Turkey
  • UAE
  • USA
  • Vietnam
  • Venezuela

1The official overseas delegation from Switzerland was unable to attend.

The exhibition organisers, Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd. have also invited country delegations. Their invitees are military/Government personnel who are below ministerial or chief of staff level, as well as industrial visitors, and invitations are extended to reflect the requirements made by exhibitors as well as London based embassies, in consultation with United Kingdom defence attaches based overseas.

At the outset of the invitation process Spearhead may take advice from MOD about the attendance of particular countries or exhibitors. However, provided they act responsibly and within the law, Spearhead is not obliged to take that advice. Requests for release of information on the delegations invited by the organisers should be directed to the company.

Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to his Department was of the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition at the Excel Centre on 9 to 12 September; how many departmental staff were present; and if he will make a statement on the purpose of hosting arms sales fairs. [130293]

Mr. Ingram

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn) on 20 May 2003,Official Report, columns 677–78W. The final cost remains to be established, but we do not expect it to exceed the estimated figure.

Ministry of Defence staff attended the Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition as part of their normal duties and to gain greater understanding of defence industrial capabilities around the world. This was at the discretion of line managers and no central record of attendance is held.

The purpose of defence exhibitions is to bring together purchasers and suppliers of defence equipment and services. DSEi enables the United Kingdom defence industry to demonstrate its capabilities to potential overseas customers and provides an opportunity for those responsible for the defence of their countries to see the range of equipment and services available to meet their legitimate requirements. Formal invitations to DSEi do not imply that Her Majesty's Government would be prepared to issue export licences for the supply of all or any of the equipment displayed, and all export licence applications would be considered on a case-by-case basis in line with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.