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Export Control Act 2002


3.The Import, Export and Customs Powers (Defence) Act 1939 (“the 1939 Act”), and in particular section 1, provides the Secretary of State with a general power to impose import and export controls on goods. The 1939 Act was considered to be a temporary measure to deal with the emergencies of the time. However, the 1939 Act has remained in force ever since (although it was amended by the Import and Export Control Act 1990 to allow it to continue in force without relying on the continued existence of “the emergency” that existed in 1939).

4.The Scott Inquiry (Sir Richard Scott’s Report of the Inquiry into the Export of Defence Equipment and Dual-Use Goods to Iraq and Related Prosecutions in February 1996 (HMSO, 0-10-262796-7)) identified a number of limitations in the 1939 Act, including the lack of parliamentary scrutiny of secondary legislation made under the Act and the absence of any indication of the purposes for which export controls may be imposed.  In July 1998 the Government published a White Paper on Strategic Export Controls (Cm 3989), which set out proposals for new primary export control legislation.  These took into account the recommendations made by Sir Richard Scott (now Lord Scott of Foscote) and are reflected in the Act.

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