Foreign Affairs Committee

Export Controls: 2011 report

• We recommend that the Government, in its response to this Report, set out the scope for controlling the supply by UK nationals, or by companies based in the UK, of telecommunications equipment for which there is a reasonable expectation that it might be used to restrict freedom of expression on the internet. (Paragraph 117)

The FCO responded:

The Government welcomes this recommendation. The UK takes its export licensing responsibilities very seriously. The type of equipment referred to by the FAC may of course already be subject to export control, for example if it contains encryption technology as specified in the EU Dual-Use Regulation,under which controlled items may not leave the EU customs territory without an export authorisation. All applications for export licences for this equipment will be assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Respect for human rights is already a mandatory criterion for all export licence decisions. The EU has also adopted specific additional measures in the context of sanctions against Iran and Syria. Where this type of equipment is not currently subject to control the Government is committed to working with international partners through the mechanism of the Wassenaar Arrangement in order to agree a specific control list of goods, software and technology. In our view an internationally agreed and implemented list is the most effective and efficient means of controlling exports of concern. Given the evolving nature of these technologies and the very technical nature of these discussions we expect that this work will continue next year.[1]