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Multi-National Corporations

Volume 930: debated on Thursday 21 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) whether Resolution 639 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on multi-national corporations has been drawn to his attention; and what action the Government intend to take upon it;(2) what action he intends to take to strengthen international co-operation in the field of operations of multi-national corporations to ensure that such corporations adhere strictly to the guidelines specifically applicable to the activities as laid down by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Council in June 1976;(3) what part he is playing within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to ensure that all industrialised countries observe the recommendations laid down by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development with regard to multinational corporations;(4) what proposals he has to give effect to the various recommendations in paragraph 18 of Resolution 639 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Her Majesty's Government believe that international co-operation is needed to deal with the international aspects of the operations of

what percentage of that capacity is under utilised at the latest date for which figures are available.

There is no satisfactory measure of shipbuilding capacity as such or of its utilisation. One indication is the output achieved in recent years. Lloyds Register of Shipping has published the following figures for merchant ships completed in EEC countries during each of the last three years:transnational corporations. We are playing a full part in the relevant activities of the various international organisations, particularly in the work of the United Nations Commission on Transnational Corporations which has just begun work on a code of conduct. We will keep the relevant provisions of Resolution 639 in mind in the course of this work. In my right hon. Friend's foreword to Cmnd. 6525 he expressed Her Majesty's Government's full support for the OECD declaration on international investments and multi-national enterprises to which Resolution 639 refers and commended the guidelines for multinational enterprises contained therein to United Kingdom companies. Her Majesty's Government will continue to play a full part in the inter-governmental consultation machinery which has been established in OECD to provide a forum for reviewing the application of the OECD guidelines.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether, within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, he has produced proposals introducing mandatory legislation concerning the multi-national corporations.

This is a complex field where we have to adopt an evolutionary approach, and the next step is to gain experience of the application of the guidelines.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has proposals to make to the Council of Ministers at the Council of Europe to require multinational corporations to fulfil more stringent social obligations in the social charter of the Council of Europe and that they respect human rights in all countries in which they operate.