HC Deb 14 June 1971 vol 819 cc1-2
1. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to what extent there are governmental limitations on British firms tendering for contracts concerned with the Cabora Bassa dam project.

The Minister for Trade (Mr. Michael Noble)

We do not impose any special limitations. As with any contract, British companies should ensure that they do not contravene the sanctions legislation relating to Rhodesia.

Mr. Wall

Will my right hon. Friend take it that that reassurance will give great satisfaction, in view of this imaginative programme which will raise the standard of living of over one million Africans?

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Why should we prejudice the amount of trade which we have with black Africa, which is infinitely more important to us than the trade which we have with white Africa, by engaging in investment in this highly controversial scheme which is designed to continue racialist oppression in Southern Africa?

Mr. Noble

The hon. Gentleman makes several suppositions which at present have no substance. We have no investment, and at the moment we have no involvement, in any of the consortia concerned.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

While at present our trade with black Africa and with white Africa is roughly equal, is it not a fact that in black Africa many of our assets are being expropriated, and in Southern Africa none? As regards the Cabora Bassa project, is it not extraordinary that those who think that the so-called liberation movements will succeed want to stop the scheme? Why should they not want to inherit a scheme which will enrich all the peoples of all races in this area?

Mr. Noble

As the Minister particularly charged with duties in connection with exporting, my task is to try to maximise exports in any way which is legal and sensible.