asked the Minister for Trade what his Department is doing to ensure the long-term future of Anglo-Argentine trade after a successful outcome of the present situation in the Falkland Islands has been achieved; and if he will make a statement.
Action to promote the future development of Anglo-Argentine trade must await the settlement of the present conflict.
The Minister will be aware that major British trade and investment interests are at stake. May we have an assurance that when the diplomatic and military aspects of the problem have been settled steps will be taken to safeguard our legitimate and substantial commercial interests, which may have been put at risk?
Neither I nor any Government spokesmen have concealed the fact that the present conflict cannot be costless. However, I intend to take every opportunity to secure a resumption of trade when relations are put on a normal and satisfactory footing.I must emphasise that the solution of this present unhappy conflict is prevented by the intransigence of the Argentine Government, not of her Majesty's Government.
Will the Minister confirm that the last British Minister to visit the Argentine to promote British exports was the right hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South (Mr. Parkinson), who is now a member of the War Cabinet?
I am not entirely certain, but I think that the hon. Gentleman may be wrong. It may have been my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The conclusions to be drawn are matters for speculation.