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Rhodesian Project (Eec Participation)

Volume 888: debated on Tuesday 11 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) if he will ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate, with a view to prosecution, the connivance of the British Steel Corporation in breaching sanctions against Rhodesia by becoming involved, through the EEC Technical Research Committee, in a pig iron research project to be undertaken by the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation;(2) if he will veto the proposal by the EEC Technical Research Committee to approve a grant of£20,000 for the development of a new pig iron casting process to be undertaken by the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation; and if he will raise the matter at the next meeting of the Committee in connection with the maintenance of sanctions;(3) if, at the next meeting of the EEC Coal and Steel Consultative Committee, he will raise the matter of the Committee's dealings with the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 3rd March 1975; Vol. 887, c. 297.], gave the following information:The International Pig Iron Secretariat, a commercial organisation of users and producers in which the British Steel Corporation participates through the British Pig Iron Group, requested financial assistance from the European Commission towards a research project to be undertaken in France. The Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation would have made a very small financial contribution to the project. Following objections by BSC to Rhodesian participation a new proposal for the same project in which the Rhodesian Corporation will not now participate has been submitted. I understand that this is to be put to the ECSC Consultative Committee—comprising representatives of producers, trade unions and consumers—since the technical merit of the project has already been endorsed by the ECSC Technical Research Committee. Subsequently, the proposal will be scrutinised by the official level Working Group on ECSC questions. This will provide the first opportunity for Governments of member States to comment, as part of the procedure whereby the Commission is required to obtain the assent of the Council of Ministers to the assistance being sought.There is no question of BSC being involved in any breach of sanctions against Rhodesia.