Britain announced a clampdown Thursday on the sale of goods to Argentina’s armed forces following an escalation in the row over the disputed Falkland Islands.
Business Secretary Vince Cable told parliament in a written statement that, with immediate effect, no export licenses would be granted for sales of military goods or items that have a dual civilian-military purpose.
The minister explained the move was in response to Argentina’s recent economic targeting of the archipelago.
“The government has reviewed this (export control) policy in the light of recent actions by the Argentine government aimed at harming the economic interests of the Falkland islanders,” said Cable.
“We are determined to ensure no British licensable exports or trade have the potential to be used by Argentina to impose an economic blockade on the Falkland islanders or inhibit their legitimate rights to develop their own economy.
“In future no licenses shall be granted for any military or dual-use goods and technology being supplied to military armed users in Argentina, except in exceptional circumstances.”
Britain has refused to export goods that could be used to improve Argentina’s armed forces since 1998, but has allowed transactions which would maintain the military’s position.
There are believed to be around 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) of outstanding contracts.
Argentina’s 1982 invasion of the remote islands triggered a 74-day war, which ended in a humiliating defeat for Argentina after British prime minister Margaret Thatcher sent in a naval task force to reclaim the archipelago.
The conflict over the islands, which Britain has ruled since 1833, cost the lives of 649 Argentine and 255 British troops.