The UK Government has announced an immediate ban on the export of military goods to the Argentinian armed forces in the wake of escalating tensions over the Falkland Islands.

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable said in a written statement to the House of Commons that no export licences would be granted for sales of military or dual use items to Argentina.

"The government has reviewed this policy in the light of recent actions by the Argentine government aimed at harming the economic interests of the Falkland islanders," Cable added.

"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."

Cable said that an estimated 37 outstanding export licences worth about a total of £1m, as well as existing licences, would be reviewed and cancelled if not in line with the new policy.

Since 1998, the UK has refused exports that would boost Argentina’s military, but has allowed transactions that would help maintain its current position. Trade with the Argentine military has been worth an estimated £3m over the past five years across 67 licences.

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According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, an estimated 25 companies have exported to the Argentine military in that time and exports have included aircraft spare parts and boat engines.

Total licensed exports over the past five years to Argentina have been worth STG32m across 295 licences and include civilian firearms, such as sporting rifles.

Since 2010, tensions between the two nations flared anew, with Argentina threatening to sue oil exploration companies and to protest to the UN over British ‘militarisation’ of the South Atlantic, following the deployment of one of its newest destroyers, HMS Dauntless.