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Lord Judd: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for giving way. He is giving a helpful reply which will enable us to be positive in our support for the Bill. However, he has just said something which I find difficult to swallow: that the CDC has committed its consideration of development issues to a sub-committee. That is exactly our anxiety: the whole corporation should be about development. This new financial initiative should be to support that, not to dominate the processes of the CDC.

Lord Chesham: Most companies have sub-committees to determine certain areas. It is essential that the most expert in development should consider the proposals before they are put to the whole board. That is a sound management strategy.

The next question I wish to address was from the noble Lord, Lord Judd, on the diversion of resources to less deserving countries. There is nothing in the Bill that changes the spread of countries in which the CDC works. Rather, the provisions will enable the CDC to respond more effectively to the changing needs of those countries in which it operates. We look to the CDC to take a clear view on where it is best placed to deploy its particular skills and have the most impact. It is important not to spread the financial and management resources too thinly.

The main driver of CDC's country coverage is a 70 per cent. target for poor countries, as it should be, given CDC's development role. This target has not changed. CDC is not planning to divert activity to middle income countries; on the contrary, as I mentioned in my opening

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speech, it is no longer making new investments in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong but is extending its activities in pre-emerging countries. That is very much what the noble Lord, Lord Judd, would like to see and it is happening.

The noble Lord said that the Bill went beyond the CPII. The CPII gives an excellent example of where the CDC would use its new powers to good effect. There is no reason to limit it by preventing it from investing directly in other projects involving reconstructions which are covered in the Bill. It should not be purely for the CPII.

As regards further legislation, it would be wrong to rule out any further legislation for the CDC at any time in the future. I understand that at present the CDC is not seeking more changes, but it would be totally wrong to say that there will never be any requirement for a change in the legislation. I do not believe that the noble Lord, Lord Judd, would like me to make that commitment anyway.

Reverting to the ODA/CDC situation, there is a regular dialogue between the ODA and the CDC. There is a well-established system to review the CDC's performance and agree with Ministers strategic targets for the future. It is an on-going process and there should be no fears.

I am not quite sure whether I am going back into history, but since the Bill last year was mentioned, I wish to make two points on it. The Government introduced a Bill addressing an immediate need by CDC to increase its borrowing limits. These were approaching their ceiling and were likely to have a detrimental effect on future investment plans. The Bill also allowed past and future government loans to CDC to be made interest-free, thus giving CDC more funds to recycle as investments. Unopposed, the Bill made swift progress.

At the same time, consideration was being given to widening CDC's powers of investment. These could not be included in the original government Bill which had progressed beyond the point where additional measures could be added within the Long Title of the Bill. That is why my noble friend Lord Trefgarne introduced a Private Member's Bill which successfully passed through this House but was opposed in the other place. In recognition of the importance of these extended powers and the urgency, given the role of CDC in CPII, the Government have now introduced a further Bill.

The noble Lord, Lord Rea, mentioned the CDC having the power to borrow in private markets. The CDC has normal powers of borrowing under the 1986 Act.

I now turn to Cuba, with a little history. Following a request from the corporation, ministerial approval was given to operate in Cuba in July 1995. We hope that this will pave the way for further British investment in support of economic reform. An operating agreement on behalf of CDC was signed by the Minister for Science and Technology during a visit to Cuba in September 1995. In accordance with the strategic target

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set out in the quinquennial review, CDC will aim to give priority to projects in the private sector. Priority sectors are: mining, financial services, agriculture and industry.

So far as the Helms-Burton legislation is concerned, it remains the policy of Her Majesty's Government to maintain normal trading relations with Cuba. The US embargo against Cuba is primarily a bilateral matter for the two governments concerned. We have made our concern about the Helms-Burton legislation clear both bilaterally and in multilateral fora. We believe that the best way to encourage economic and political reform in Cuba is to maintain constructive dialogue as a means of encouraging reform and democracy there. CDC has a part to play in that.

The CDC is an expert in the business of development. I hope that I have covered all the points that noble Lords raised. In this debate the CDC was deservedly praised on all sides of the House. Our purpose here today is to ensure that the CDC has the necessary powers to continue with its important work in promoting sustainable economic development in poor countries. The Government are confident that the CDC will use these powers prudently and effectively both in the context of the Commonwealth private investment initiative and more widely.

Let us give the CDC the tools it needs. I commend the Bill to the House.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Arbitration Bill [H.L.]

12.1 p.m.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I beg to move that the Commons amendments be now considered.

Moved, That the Commons amendments be now considered.--(Baroness Miller of Hendon.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

[The page and line refer to Bill (100) as first printed by the Commons.]

1.    Clause 82, page 32, leave out lines 16 and 17.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 1. I wish also to speak to Amendments Nos. 2 to 6.

No substantive change is being proposed to the thrust of the Bill. The purpose of the amendments is simply to give order-making powers to the Lord Chancellor to allocate arbitration matters which come before the courts, as provided for in the Bill, as he thinks fit between the High Court and the county courts. Where appropriate he may decide that only certain county courts should have jurisdiction.

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We have come to the conclusion that rather than relying on existing arrangements for allocating business to the courts, there would be distinct merit in having specific provisions in the Bill. Hence the new clause. This will give us the flexibility which we need and which may not be possible under the existing arrangements.

At the same time we would like to amend Clause 101. This clause provides for the recognition and enforcement of New York Convention awards by our courts. At the moment the clause provides that a New York Convention award may, by leave of the High Court or a county court be enforced in the same manner as a judgment or order of that court. In fact the present situation is that foreign arbitral awards are enforced only in the High Court and it would be preferable for the Bill to reflect this. There are no plans at present to involve other courts, although we would not wish to rule out that possibility for the future. Amending the clause to provide that New York Convention awards may be enforced by leave of the court enables us to continue with the current practice of High Court enforcement, while giving us the flexibility to change matters in the future. The detail will be spelt out in rules of court.

The other amendments remove the existing definition of "the court" and signpost the reader in the direction of the new definition. I beg to move.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 1.--(Baroness Miller of Hendon.)

Lord Boyd-Carpenter: My Lords, perhaps my noble friend the Minister will explain what lines 16 and 17 actually do.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, is my noble friend referring to lines 16 and 17 of Clause 82 on page 32 of the Bill?

Lord Boyd-Carpenter: I refer to the first amendment.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: They define "the court".

Lord Hacking: My Lords, I do not know whether this is an appropriate moment to intervene. I wish to pass comment on Amendments Nos. 1 to 6, on which my noble friend the Minister is addressing the House at the moment, although she has moved only Amendment No. 1. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, has any further intervention to make. I do not know whether he was satisfied with the answer he received to his question.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, the answer to my noble friend's question was that the lines contain the present definition of the word "court".

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