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Trade Mission (South Africa)

Volume 889: debated on Monday 24 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many Government-supported or Government-sponsored trade missions will visit South Africa in 1975.

During 1975 17 missions are expected to visit South Africa under the Government's Outward Mission Scheme.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that is an extremely disappointing answer? Does he agree that it would be better for relations with that country and other African countries, as well as better for race relations throughout the world, if we suspended trade missions to South Africa altogether? Would it not be better to encourage British firms to trade with countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania rather than to invest in a racially dominated country such as South Africa?

I have not received any representations from other African countries, or from any country, protesting in any way against the normal flow of trade between this country and South Africa. Therefore, I think it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that I feel is in my hon. Friend's remarks that we are in any way jeopardising our trade relations, which I accept are very much improved, with growing markets in black Africa.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an indication of the number of people in this country whose jobs are entirely dependent upon the success of these missions to South Africa?

No, I cannot. Of course, our exports to South Africa account for about 3 per cent. of our exports.