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Volume 23: debated on Monday 10 May 1982

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asked the Minister for Trade whether he will make a statement about the efficacy of the operation of trade sanctions against Argentina.

While the efficacy of sanctions can never be precisely measured, it is already clear that the measures adopted by the European Community and others have put considerable pressure on the Argentine economy and undermined international confidence in it.

Will the Minister order an inquiry into how the merchant bankers Schroder Wagg secretly transferred their entire Argentine loan book from London to Zurich on the day before the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands? In view of the fact that a complete economic boycott would be far more effective than military action, why are the Government not bringing pressure to bear on unpatriotic, greedy, British bankers who are using their overseas subsidiaries to prop up the Argentine junta, or do the Tory Goverment prefer to send young men to their deaths than to offend their friends in the City?

The hon. Gentleman speaks from a position of invincible prejudice. Even assuming that the facts outlined by him relating to a well-known City merchant bank are true, they obviously occurred before any measures were introduced by the Government.

The Argentine Government have complained, within the terms of the GATT, about the effctiveness of the measures and the damage that they are likely to do to the Argentine economy in the long run. That suggests that the measures have been well designed and are achieving their objective.

Has my hon. and learned Friend any assessment of the value of trade that has taken place between the Soviet Union and Argentina since the commencement of hostilities?

No. We would welcome any information that my hon. Friend can give on that matter.