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Arab Trade Boycott

Volume 886: debated on Monday 17 February 1975

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17.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations he has received from British companies about the operation of the Arab trade boycott; what replies he has sent; and whether he will make a statement.

I regret that I cannot quote individual cases, but the Department has received representations from United Kingdom companies which are worried by the effects of the boycott. Her Majesty's Government deplore all trade boycotts other than those internationally supported and sanctioned by the United Nations, and while the position is explained to interested traders any subsequent decision is a matter for the commercial judgment of the firm concerned.

I thank my hon. Friend for that rather resounding declaration. I welcome the terms in which it was made. Has his Department taken note of and studied the effects of current American legislation against the Arab boycott? Does he think we should introduce similar legislation?

Yes, my Department is aware of American legislation, but we are not certain that if similar legislation were introduced in this country it would be likely to be effective or add much to our knowledge of the working of the boycott. It would also add to the already heavy burden of documentation placed on our exporters. So far as I am aware, the existence of the legislation does not prevent American exporters from providing boycott declarations.