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Iran And Saudi Arabia (Unpaid Debts)

Volume 268: debated on Tuesday 12 December 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia in respect of the problem of non-payment and late payment for medical products exported to these countries by Smith and Nephew. [5241]

Smith and Nephew has not approached us about their payment problems with Iran. But the ECGD are dealing with both pre and post-revolutionary insured debt repayment matters in Iran. Current commercial debt claims by United Kingdom creditors are being administered through Credit Suisse in London.Our embassy in Riyadh has addressed with the Saudi Government the question of payment arrears, particularly for medical supplies, including payments owed for deliveries from Smith and Nephew. A number of outstanding payments have issued in 1995, but considerable sums remain outstanding and our embassy continues to seek early payment of the remainder.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from (a) Smith and Nephew and (b) other United Kingdom manufacturers about the difficulty of securing payments for goods exported to Iran and Saudi Arabia. [5242]

We have not received any representations from Smith and Nephew or other manufacturers about securing payment from Iran.We have not had any approaches from Smith and Nephew about Saudi Arabia, but the company informed my right hon. Friend the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Needham), the then Minister of Trade, in June of its debt problem with Saudi Arabia. We have also had approaches from a number of other United Kingdom manufacturers. Some have been paid; most, like pharmaceutical companies, which supply on a regular basis, have been paid some of their older outstanding debts but one is still about a year in arrears.