Select Committee on Trade and Industry Minutes of Evidence



  For exports to non-NATO countries, the Belgian government requires an End-Use Certificate with an explicit assurance from the importing government that they will not re-export the equipment without the prior consent of the Belgian government. These End-use Certificates are sent by the Belgian government to the importing country's embassy for verification thus allowing for the discovery of false documentation. Three months after the goods are exported from Belgium, the Belgian government requires proof that the goods were delivered including details of the transit routes and travel plans.


  Sweden has many forms of end-user certificate to fit different situations, including a "tailor-made"end-user statement to suit a particular case if none of the standard forms fit a given situation. An export licence is not processed until the requisite EUC is in the physical possession of the Swedish licensing authority. While Sweden does not refer explicitly to follow-up provisions in its export licensing, investigations regardingre-export has taken place with on-site inspections having taken place in at least one instance.

  Sweden has also developed a Customs Information System—known by the Swedish acronym TDS—which is a computer system that is used to support customs clearance in connection with the export and import of goods. One of the main reasons for introducing the system was to move away from paper documentation and the associated problems of document retrieval and archive storage. For example, export declaration can now be taken directly from TDS, whereas previously they had to be obtained from microfiche archives. More importantly from a control perspective, TDS (among other things) can alert officers to potential illegal exports and identify known proliferators. It cost about £35 million to introduce, and was phased in over a number of years, beginning with exports in 1992 (each exporting company has a unique registration number), imports in 1993-94 and a post-export control system in 1995. Work is currently in progress to build risk profiles within the system. There are 35 customs officers who act as contact points and specialists for TDS within the customs regions.


  In the 1980s there were several investigations into the violation of German export regulations. As a result of these investigations, a number of administrative improvements and legislative amendments were made in Germany at the beginning of the 1990s. The main changes in relation to end-use controls were as follows:

The "catch-all" clause

  A "catch-all" clause was introduced in 1990 for exports under the Foreign Trade Act. Although thecatch-all in relation to chemical, biological and nuclear weapons (and the missiles capable of carrying such weapons) later became subject to Article 4 of the EC Regulation on Dual-Use Goods, the legislative provision for the catch-all in relation to conventional weapons remains unchanged and a unique feature of the German model. Under this provision, exports of goods not on the Export List require a licence when they were used as supplies for conventional weapons or armaments production plants to 13 sensitive K-list countries (previously the 30 country H-list) and the exporter has prior knowledge of this intended use. In effect, this requires companies to ensure that all proposed exports to these destinations are for civilian use only.

Principles for examining the reliability of exporters

  Established in 1991, these principles effectively make the granting of an export licence to certain destinations (around 34 specified countries as at the end of 1997) dependent on the reliability of the exporting company. Specific personnel and organisational requirements in the respective companies must be fulfilled as proof of reliability. Companies, for example, must appoint a "Person Responsible for Exports" (Ausfuhrverantwortlicher) and obtain a certificate of reliability from the Federal Export Office. The named company official—who must be a person at executive board or managing director level—is also responsible for assessing end-use, and can later be held accountable for any foreseeable diversion. Interestingly, the reaction from industry has been overwhelmingly favourable, as this particular requirement has provided an opportunity for German companies to display a new "clean image" to the wider world. Thus, many individual German companies have responded by introducing their own internal guidelines and export control systems which exceed the minimum requirements.

End-use certificates

  The German system of end-use certification is based on a combination of International End-Use Certificates (for destinations where governments issues such declarations) and private declarations made by importing firms (for all other destinations). An End-Use Certificate (certified by either the importing government or private company) is normally required, unless:

    —  the export value is below certain deminimus limits (DM 10,000 for armaments and defence-related items listed in Section A of the Export List and DM 20,000 for most dual-use goods listed in Section C);

    —  it is a temporary export; or

    —  it is a government contract.

  The End-Use Certificate contains a declaration by the consignee or end-user on the final destination and use of the goods. Standard texts are provided by the Federal Export Office, and the declaration usually includes a commitment by the end-user not to re-export the goods without prior written permission from the Federal Export Office (although the exact content of each Certificate will differ accordingly to country of destination, end-user and type of goods). The validity of the end-use declaration may also be checked with the recipient country's embassy in Germany.


  In the early 1990s, the German Government strengthened its preventive monitoring options in a number of ways. The most significant change was a substantially strengthening in the export control function of the Customs Investigation Service, commonly known by its German abbreviation, ZKA. In 1988, for example, the ZKA employed 94 staff in total, whereas in 1994 the ZKA employed around 370 personnel, including 150 investigators on export controls. It also coordinates the activities of around 2,600 customs officials throughout Germany. One consequence of this expansion in resources has been an increase in the number of investigations from 405 in 1989 to 1,051 in 1991.

  The ZKA's export control function has also been enhanced by the introduction of computer systems, better coordination with the Federal Export Office and the introduction of intrusive surveillance powers. Both the Federal Export Office and the ZKA have introduced computer systems to detect unlawful exports. The Federal Export Office operates two databases, one for information about licence applications and processing, and the other containing intelligence information on illegal procurement activities. In addition, the ZKA introduced its own separate export data collection system called Kontrolle Bei Der Ausfuhr (KOBRA) on1 April 1991. The system has many innovative, computerised tracking and monitoring features and is based at the ZKA's headquarters in Cologne. It is an on-line system available to most customs offices throughout Germany, which centralises in a single data base all documents filed at individual offices, and signals whether or not a stated end user for a given product is known to be involved in weapons development. It also compares export documents against checklists—compiled by the ZKA—of suspect end users, countries and particular products associated with those countries known weapons development programmes. The product coverage of KOBRA is extensive. In addition to arms and munitions, it includes all chemical products, all related written materials and plans, all steel and metal products, machinery and transport equipment, electromechanical and electronic products, fine mechanics and optical devices. In 1990 and 1991 these product categories amounted to 71.6 and 71.1 per cent of all German exports, respectively.

  While KOBRA does have some data recognition problems, it nonetheless recognised as a useful tool for showing the larger proliferation picture and in particular for tracking the acquisition patterns of certain countries (although, of course, it is unable to track Germany technology acquired within the Single European Market and subsequently exported from the EU by another Member State—this would require the development of an EU-wide system).

20 November 1998

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