Latest Report from the UK Parliamentary Committee on Arms Export Controls

The UK’s Committees on Arms Export Controls (, which used to be called the Quadripartite Committee, as it is a joint committee comprising all of those Parliamentary committees whose remits encompass some bearing on export control-related issues (ie the Business and Trade Committee, the Defence Select Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the International Development Committee), released its latest report on Tuesday 23rd January 2024. The role of the CAEC is to provide Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of the UK’s export and trade control system, and it has been undertaking this role since 1999. A copy of the CAEC’s latest report can be found at:

Essentially, this 21-page report is looking introspectively at the CAEC and its role, and the practical problems that it has been experiencing since its creation in trying to undertake its work. Its conclusion is that the CAEC should be disestablished as a formal entity, and that, going forward, the Business and Trade Committee should take primacy in undertaking Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of the UK’s export and trade control system, with occasional inputs and contributions, as and when needed, from the other three Parliamentary Committees. It has to be noted, however, that the Defence Select Committee has gone into print formally with a letter publicly disagreeing with this plan (, and arguing for the continuation of the current arrangements.

During the period proceeding 1999, a number of different Parliamentary Committees held enquiries on the different aspects of the UK’s export and trade control licensing systems, and the creation of the CAEC was intended to consolidate all of this diverse activity and to provide greater Parliamentary coordination on this issue. It remains to be seen how effective the new system will prove to be in practice.