HC Deb 12 December 1984 vol 69 cc1038-9
4. Dr. Michael Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, during his recent visit to Israel, he was able to further the prospect of joint ventures in high technology between Israel and Britain and closer co-operation between Israel and the European Community.

Mr. Luce

My right hon. and learned Friend's recent visit to Israel focused on the prospects for peace in the middle east. He also reviewed our bilateral relationship with Israel, as well as the effects on Israel's relationship with the European Community of Community enlargement. There was a discussion on progress in commercial relations, but joint ventures in high technology were not specifically discussed.

Dr. Clark

I am sure that my hon. Friend is aware of Israel's capability in various areas of high technology. Will he therefore suggest to his right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade that he should visit Israel for bilateral talks, as he has done with other countries in that area?

Mr. Luce

First, I take note of my hon. Friend's suggestion. He might like to know that officials at the Department of Trade and Industry are due to have discussions with officials in Israel shortly, as part of the United Kingdom-Israel joint committee on trade relations, with a view to finding ways to increase our trade with Israel. Trade in both directions is already increasing quite strongly.

Mr. Ernie Ross

Does the Minister accept that before there is a further increase in trade, or a continuation of trade, between Britain and Israel, we should first at least demand that Israel withdraws from Lebanon, stops building settlements on the west bank and gives basic human rights to the Palestinians on the west bank in Gaza?

Mr. Luce

On the first question, commercial trade has continued with Israel. We believe that it is right to have ordinary, straightforward commercial trade. We want to see an agreement as soon as possible between the Israeli Government and the Lebanese Government for the withdrawal of forces there. In that connection, the European Community imposed an arms embargo on Israel in 1982 as a result of the invasion of the Lebanon.

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