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South Africa

Volume 728: debated on Thursday 12 May 1966

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asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to counter the reluctance of municipalities, or organisations and individuals, in South Africa to order and buy British.

I have no evidence that the overwhelming bulk of South African orders, whether in the public or private sector, are placed on any but straightforward commercial grounds.

Is it not very surprising that the hon. Gentleman has no evidence, when it is well known to people familiar with these matters that there is a growing reluctance in South Africa to buy British goods because of the Rhodesian situation? Will the Government try to reach a solution in order that we do not prejudice that great market for British goods?

The hon. Gentleman is exaggerating the position terribly. There may be one or two individuals who will not buy from us because they disagree with our policy, and there may be people in this country who do not buy South African goods for a similar reason. But we have no evidence that I.D.I. is influencing our trade with South Africa.

Supplementary to the hon. Gentleman's previous answer, I was going to ask to what extent it is still the policy of his party not to buy South African goods, or is it just hon. Gentlemen over there who do not do it?