HC Deb 03 April 1996 vol 275 c387
20. Mr. Bill Michie

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received concerning the impact of the Helms-Burton legislation. [22633]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

We have received a number of letters from Members of Parliament and business men about the possible impact of the legislation.

Mr. Michie

I welcome the Minister's comments earlier this afternoon about the legislation passed by the United States Congress. May we have a guarantee from the Government that if any British company finds itself faced with court action we will at least give it all necessary support? I accept that the President of the United States can delay title III after August, but in the meantime our companies need to know that they can engage in free trade without the threat of isolation.

Sir Nicholas Bonsor

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to say that it would be appalling if United Kingdom companies were disadvantaged by the extra-territorial aspects of the legislation. I cannot give him the undertaking for which he asks; what support might be given to companies is a matter for my colleagues in the Department of Trade and Industry. We will certainly do our best to ensure that the impact on British business is limited. I can also tell the hon. Gentleman that we have every intention of continuing to encourage United Kingdom-Cuba trade.

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