§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many SIEL and open individual export licence applications have been made in 1999; and how many of them have been(a) accepted and (b) rejected. 
§ Dr. Howells
Between 1 January and 12 November 1999, 10,109 applications for an individual licence to export goods controlled for strategic reasons were received; 9,775 applications for a Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL); and 334 applications for an Open Individual Export Licence (OIEL).
Between 1 January and 12 November 1999, a decision was taken on 6,851 SIEL applications and 143 OIEL applications, some of which will have been received before 1 January 1999; 6,802 SIELs were issued between these dates and 49 applications for such a licence were refused; 143 OIELs were issued between these dates and no applications for such a licence were refused in full.
A comparison of the numbers of licences issued or refused in any two periods, even when they are of the same duration, is hardly a reliable indicator of the practical effect of a change in Government policy—or indeed a change in Government—between the periods concerned. In the first place, companies are unlikely to apply for licences that they can judge for themselves are likely to be refused when assessed against the published criteria. More generally, the number and nature of the applications received in total or in relation to particular destinations can vary widely from one period to the next, and there can be many reasons for such variation.