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Middle East

House of Lords written question – answered on 3rd November 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Tonge Baroness Tonge Independent Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what conditions concerning human rights they have imposed on trade with Middle East states.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

The UK is proud to be the first country to develop an Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. This was jointly launched by the Foreign Office and Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in September 2013.

The UK has a series of established agreements which are negotiated with partner countries through the EU. These agreements form the basis of our trade relations with most countries in the Middle East.

All association agreements, which include trade chapters, with third countries contain a clause stipulating that human rights are an essential element in relations between the parties.

No aspect of the UK’s commercial relationships with countries in the Middle East prevents us from speaking frankly and openly to them about human rights. We will not pursue trade to the exclusion of human rights. They can and should be complementary.

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