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Arab Trade Boycott

Volume 894: debated on Monday 23 June 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will now make a further statement on his policy toward the Arab trade boycott.

I have nothing to add to the statement of Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the Arab boycott of Israel which I gave on 5th May in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend.—[Vol. 891, c. 1012–13.]

I do not wish to be uncharitable to my hon. Friend, because I know his feelings on this matter, but is he aware that the boycott continues and that the pressure is mounting all the time? When does he feel that either he or his right hon. Friend will be in a position to make a far more detailed statement about the Government's policy, so that it will be quite clear to all concerned that a British Government will not tolerate these impediments to free trade?

It has already been made clear that Her Majesty's Government are opposed to and deplore the Arab boycott. I believe that more is to be gained in this matter by supporting policies and actions aimed at the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict in all its manifestations and also by discussing with firms any boycott problems they face—as my officials do from time to time—than by making statements in the House.

In the meantime will my hon. Friend assure as that neither British Leyland nor any concern in which the public have a substantial holding will bow to this deplorable boycott?

The commercial policy of firms, whether or not there is a public stake in them, is primarily a matter for the management concerned. We previously answered a Question about British Leyland and the Arab boycott, and I believe that on that occasion I was able to satisfy my hon. and learned Friend that British Leyland's policies were correct.