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Arms Trade: USA

Question for Department for International Trade

UIN HL5411, tabled on 8 June 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their policy regarding the sale of arms to the United States of America.

Answered on

22 June 2020

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

All countries are under continual review, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, and my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require.

We do not hold complete records based on shipments of items exported to the United States or any country, although we do hold some information based on the value of licences granted for Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs). The Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) about export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK. These reports contain information including the overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This information is available at:

The most recent publication was in April 2020, on licences issued until the end of December 2019. Quarterly reports are available from 2008 onwards.

Records from 1997–2007 are available in the United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls Annual Report, laid each year and placed within the libraries of the House.