HC Deb 23 October 1972 vol 843 cc185-6W
Mr. Normanton

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether in general principle foreign nationals and foreign concerns have full freedom for establishment of trading and manufacturing activities in Great Britain; which countries in Western Europe provide similar facilities to British nationals and British companies; and what progress is being made towards the same freedom in the case of Iron Curtain countries.

Mr. Noble

There are no general restrictions on the freedom of foreign nationals and foreign concerns to establish trading and manufacting activities in Great Britain. In this respect British practice is among the most liberal in the world. Some of the Western European countries, including Western Germany, give foreign firms full freedom to establish manufacturing and trading activities. In most, however, there are varying restrictions, though for the most part these do not constitute a serious inhibition to foreign investment, and the general policy is to welcome rather than exclude such investment. The European Communities provide for freedom of establishment for nationals of all Member States and we shall of course benefit from this after our accession. There are only limited opportunities for establishing trading and manufacturing facilities in the Communist countries, but there have been some relaxations during recent years.