HL Deb 27 April 1998 vol 589 c5WA
Viscount Simon

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made to set up the Commonwealth Business Council as agreed at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. [HL1598]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The first meeting of the Commonwealth Business Council took place in London on 20 and 21 April under the chairmanship of the noble Earl, Lord Cairns, with Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa as vice-chairman. It was attended by a number of leading business persons from throughout the Commonwealth. As agreed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, its objective is to promote greater private sector involvement in the promotion of trade and investment, and thus prosperity, throughout the Commonwealth. The British Government were pleased to provide £250,000 towards the council's start-up costs. We hope that other Commonwealth governments and the private sector will also want to contribute to this most valuable initiative.