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South Africa (British Companies)

Volume 955: debated on Tuesday 24 October 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade which major British companies with interests in South Africa had not submitted by 30th September reports on their operations in that country in accordance with the code of conduct of the EEC, as published in the White Paper, Command Paper No. 7233.

I assume my hon. Friend has in mind British companies owning more than 50 per cent. of the equity of a South African affiliate and employing more than 20 Africans, since these are companies which, under the procedure set out in paragraphs 6 and 7 of Command 7233, were requested to report in detail. Until we receive the reports, we cannot identify such companies with certainty since our knowledge of recent disposals—and hence current interests—is necessarily incomplete. To date, however, over 100 firms have responded. Of those, 82 are companies with 50 per cent. or more equity stake in South African companies employing 20 or more black Africans, 21 are companies with a lesser interest in South Africa.A general reminder was published in

Trade and Industry on 22nd September and letters were sent earlier this month to all those companies which were expected to report but had not then done

so. Reports are still coming in and I am hopeful that the response will enable a detailed analysis to be made before the end of the year. Any company which received my right hon. Friend's letter of 25th May to chairmen and has not yet made clear its intentions for reporting would be well advised to do so quickly.