Union des Proprietaires Beiges

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th June 1972.

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Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames 12:00 am, 26th June 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations have been made to the Commission of the European Economic Community and the Belgian Government over the blocking by the Belgian Government of the take-over of Union des Proprietaires Beiges by the British company, Equity and Law.

Photo of Mr Michael Noble Mr Michael Noble , Argyll

Representations have been made to the Belgian Government seeking reconsideration of their decision in this case, and, failing that, assurances about their probable attitude to similar applications.

Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames

As one of the advantages of British entry into the Community is supposed to be the creation of European groupings, is not this unjustified discrimination against a British company? Has not the clause of the Belgian Commercial Code, under which this action has been taken, been condemned by the Commission, and should not strong representations be made to the Belgian Government and the European Commission that such economic nationalism is incompatible with the Common Market?

Photo of Mr Michael Noble Mr Michael Noble , Argyll

We made very strong representations to the Belgian Govern- ment. We cannot make representations to the EEC Commission since we are not yet a member of the Community. Perhaps it would help if I said that I understand that the Belgian Government expect shortly to pass legislation which will exempt Common Market firms from the sort of action which was taken against Equity and Law.