§ 14. Mr. Hooley
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will now discontinue Export Credits Guarantee Department cover for trade with South Africa.
§ Mr. Hooley
Has my right hon. Friend noticed the recent statement by the Foreign Secretary discouraging private business from having too heavy an in- 992 volvement in the economy of South Africa? Is it not slightly bizarre that the Foreign Office should be discouraging trade with South Africa while the Department of Trade is promoting it?
§ Mr. Dell
I have certainly noticed my right hon. Friend's remarks. There is no doubt that the dependence of this country on raw materials from Southern Africa is a form of exposure which I would willingly see reduced. On the other hand, I do not see that it harms this country, particularly at a time of high unemployment, if we maintain credit terms for South Africa in line with those of our major competitors.
§ Mr. Adley
Does the right hon. Gentleman envisage an increasingly political role for ECGD? Will he comment on the reports that the recent ECGD backing for the Pan Am-Rolls-Royce deal involves accepting the total commitment to the liability of any future default by Pan American on terms which American air engine manufacturers would not accept?
§ Mr. Robert Hughes
Is it not time that my right hon. Friend had a meeting with the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, both of whom have said that our membership of the EEC implies a common foreign policy? Is it not strange that we will soon be the only country left in the EEC which continues to give export credit guarantees to South Africa since the Germans and the Dutch already have such a ban?
§ Mr. McCrindle
Why do the Secretary of State and the Government take different views about extending ECGD facilities to South Africa and to Chile, the regimes of both of which, as I understand it, the Government oppose? Could it have anything to do with the fact that such action against South Africa would affect the standard of living of the British people whereas such action against Chile would not?