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Saudi Arabia

Volume 984: debated on Monday 12 May 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his latest view of the prospects for British trade in Saudi Arabia.

I hope that our close trading links with Saudi Arabia, which is one of our most important markets, will not be harmed as the result of the recent television film.

How many jobs does my hon. Friend think will have been lost in British industry as a result of the showing of the film "Death of a Princess"? Will my hon. Friend arrange an early meeting between the directors of ATV and those finding themselves unemployed so that those directors can explain their action to the people made redundant?

It is far too early to say what effects the showing of that film will have, but I hope that those in the media who make such films will in future, before they show them, reflect on the fact that they could damage British interests by showing them. I hope that they will reflect on the fact that there are 30,000 British people in Saudi Arabia whose jobs are less secure as a result of that film.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the anxiety in the British aerospace industry that over £1,000 million of exports will be lost as a result of the showing of that film in this country?

My hon. Friend very properly underlines the importance to us of Saudi Arabia as a market. It is our biggest market outside Europe and America and our exports to it last year totalled nearly £1,000 million.