Press release

Business Secretary revokes five export licences to Egypt

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Vince Cable today announced he has revoked five export licences to Egypt in light of recent events which have led to deaths of civilians.

Business Secretary Vince Cable today announced he has revoked five export licences to Egypt in light of recent events which have led to deaths of civilians.

Following advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the licensing authority for arms exports, has taken the decision to revoke five standard individual export licences.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

We are deeply concerned about the situation in Egypt and the events which have led to the deaths of protestors.

The government takes its export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most rigorous arms export control regimes in the world.

All licences for exports of controlled goods to Egypt have been assessed on a case-by-case basis against a range of internationally agreed stringent criteria which take into account the circumstances at the time the licence application was made.

However, as a result of the changing situation in Egypt, we have conducted a review of UK export licences to this country. When circumstances change or new information comes to light we can revoke extant licences where the proposed export is no longer consistent with the criteria.

Whilst we have no reports of British equipment being used in the unrest in Egypt, we have taken the decision to revoke five licences.

As always, further applications for export licences to Egypt will be assessed against events in the country. The longstanding UK position is clear: we will not grant export licences where we judge there is a clear risk the goods might be used for internal repression, provoke or prolong conflict within a country, be used aggressively against another country or risk our national security.

Notes for editors

  1. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:
  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.