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UK blocked vaccine export to Iraq: update

In December 1999 it was made known that the DTI had blocked a shipment of
vaccines to Iraq.  This caused some uproar as the vaccines were intended
for children.  Consequently, a written question was put in the House of
Commons by Dr Tonge MP.  It was answered by Dr Howells, the DTI
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Competition and Consumer
Affairs with responsibility for export controls.

The exchange is recorded in Hansard, 21 December 1999, Column 455W
[written answers] as follows:

                 Vaccine Exports (Iraq)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will
make a statement on his policy on the export of diphtheria, tetanus and
yellow fever vaccines for Iraqi children. [103212]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 20 December 1999]: While the export from the
United Kingdom of diphtheria, tetanus and yellow fever vaccines is not
normally subject to control, the export from the UK to Iraq of any goods,
unless under authority of an export licence, is prohibited by the Export
of Goods (Control) (Iraq and Kuwait Sanctions) Order 1990 [SI 1990/1640],
which came into force on 9 August 1990. All applications for a licence to
export goods to Iraq are considered very carefully.

Vaccines for yellow fever and diphtheria vaccines are also covered by the
Import and Export (ImpEx) mechanism established under United Nations
Security Council Resolution 1051. This mechanism requires certain goods,
as specified in a UN agreed list, to be subject to special controls,
including the monitoring of their end use in Iraq by UNSCOM because they
are capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction programmes;
tetanus vaccines are not covered by the ImpEx mechanism. 

Since UNSCOM officials left Iraq in December 1998, they have been unable
to monitor the importation and end use of goods covered by the ImpEx
mechanism.  Applications for licences to export such goods to Iraq are
therefore processed on a case-by-case basis and will be granted only if
the Government is satisfied that the particular export would be subject to
appropriate controls and monitoring in Iraq.


Colin Rowat

Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq

393 King's College            
Cambridge CB2 1ST                       tel: +44 (0)468 056 984
England                                 fax: +44 (0)870 063 4984

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