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International Arms Sales (Brandt Commission Report)

Volume 983: debated on Thursday 24 April 1980

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asked the Prime Minister what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government regarding the views expressed by the Brandt Commission regarding taxation of international arms sales for the benefit of developing countries.

We are studying the detailed proposals of the Brandt Commission and will give our considered views soon.

On the principle of such a tax, does the Prime Minister agree or disagree with her right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) and his distinguished co-signatories?

I looked at what the Brandt Commission said on this matter of a tax on armament exports and imports. With respect to the hon. Gentleman, it is a pretty cursory reference. It is a long way from a firm recommendation that there should be a tax on armaments. The reference is in the context of a tax on all exports and on all international trade. I could not suddenly out very much more study, and I do not come out with a decision on that with believe that those who sat on the Brand Commission would expect it.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that what ma; appear to be a developing country in one context is, in some manufacturing contexts, highly developed and may be competing, quite unfairly, with our own producers?

I accept what my hon. Friend says. There are great differences among developing countries One of our problems is that of competing with some of the trades of the newly developed countries, such as South Korea.