Iran and Russia

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th March 1992.

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Photo of Mr Peter Thurnham Mr Peter Thurnham , Bolton North East 12:00 am, 11th March 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received about Export Credits Guarantee Department cover for Iran and Russia; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Hon. Tim Sainsbury Hon. Tim Sainsbury , Hove

I have received a number of representations about ECGD cover for Iran and Russia.

Photo of Mr Peter Thurnham Mr Peter Thurnham , Bolton North East

Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating Beloit Walmsley in my constituency on winning a £63 million contract in Russia and a £90 million contract in Iran? Is not that the way for us to gain increasing shares of world markets for the fourth successive year, in contrast with the strike-torn, tax-weary years of decline under Labour?

Photo of Hon. Tim Sainsbury Hon. Tim Sainsbury , Hove

Not only am I happy to join my hon. Friend in congratulating that successful exporter, but I congratulate my hon. Friend on the energetic and effective way in which he has supported Beloit Walmsley in winning those contracts.

Photo of Dr Norman Godman Dr Norman Godman , Greenock and Port Glasgow

Do we really want to develop trade with a country whose Government sanctions the murderous fatwa placed upon the shoulders of Salman Rushdie? Should not the Government, in the last few days of their existence, bring to bear upon the Iranian Government the utter condemnation that is felt by the people of the United Kingdom for the disgraceful action in imposing a death threat on a British citizen in the capital of the United Kingdom? Nothing should be done to further trade with the Iranian Government until that fatwa is lifted from the shoulders of Salman Rushdie.

Photo of Hon. Tim Sainsbury Hon. Tim Sainsbury , Hove

The Government have made clear their opposition and abhorrence for the fatwa to which the hon. Gentleman referred, but he differs from the view of his colleagues on the Opposition Front Bench if he wishes to stop trade or perhaps impose an embargo on trade with Iran or, indeed, any other country. It is the policy of the Government to encourage our exporters and to congratulate them.