asked the Minister of War Transport, in connection with bulk purchases of goods and produce from foreign or Dominion countries, what arrangements will be made to ensure that as much as possible is carried in British ships, in any event no less a proportion than was carried in pre-war days.
The earnings from the carrying trade have always been, and must continue to be, an important factor in our trade balance. In our view, the interests of all countries are best served by the fullest international freedom for ships to ply in all trades in what is international business. For these reasons His Majesty's Government are opposed to discriminatory practices by Governments limiting cargo to their national flags. My hon. Friend may rest assured that we shall do everything possible to enable British shipping by fair competition to secure its full share in all trades.