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Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 6 May 1947

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asked the President of the Board of Trade what facilities and assistance he will give to British business men now that the allied headquarters in Japan have decided to invite 400 allied business men to Japan for the furtherance of private or semi-private trade.

After consultation with the interests concerned, the Board of Trade are at present compiling a list of 40 representatives of British business interests to proceed in due course to Japan. This is being done in the hope of an early reopening of private foreign trade in that country preceded by the entry of limited numbers of Allied business men. The legislative and administrative steps required to authorise private trading transactions between the United Kingdom and Japan are also being taken. I have had no confirmation of the decision attributed to Allied Headquarters in the report to which the hon. Member refers and I am not yet able to say when or under what conditions private foreign trade with Japan will be re-opened. These matters are still under discussion with the American and other Allied authorities in Washington, but an early decision can be expected.