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Arms Trade: Saudi Arabia

Question for Department for International Trade

UIN 140266, tabled on 19 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many licences for arms exports to Saudi Arabia have been denied since 2015.

Answered on

22 January 2021

Arms exports require an export licence, and all export licence applications are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the “Consolidated Criteria”).

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) on export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK containing detailed 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: and the most recent publication was on 13th October 2020, covering the period 1st April – 30th June 2020.

We are able to place conditions on how goods are used in situations where goods remain under an exporter’s control following export, such as temporary exports. We rigorously examine all applications on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated Criteria, which takes into account our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and other relevant rules of international law. Whilst no Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) have been refused since 2015, 11 Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs) have been rejected for arms exports to Saudi Arabia. This shows the Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the possible impact of both providing equipment and its capabilities.