Skip to main content

Anglo-Polish Trade Talks

Volume 437: debated on Thursday 8 May 1947

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

1. Agreement in principle was reached with the Polish Delegation, which recently visited this country, on a number of questions relating to the long-term development of Anglo-Polish trade. Both countries desire to rest are the prewar pattern of trade. Poland used to export to the United Kingdom principally foodstuffs (bacon, butter, eggs) and timber, end the import of these commodities would gladly be resumed. Poland wishes to purchase again from United Kingdom traders the machinery and raw materials so urgently required in the reconstruction of the Polish economy.

2. The arrangements provisionally agreed are as follow. Poland plans to place orders with United Kingdom traders over the next three years (chosen as the period of the Polish Three-Year Plan) for raw materials (e.g., wool, rubber, tin, graphite) and other goods, up to a value of £20 million, and for machinery and other capital goods up to a value of £15 million. During this period, Poland proposes to export to the United Kingdom goods to a total value of £23 million (£5, £8 and £10 million, respectively, in each year). It is designed that exports should consist largely of goods essential to the United Kingdom economy and that foodstuffs should occupy an important place. In the first year the Polish offers include eggs and poultry; in the later years bacon and butter exports would be resumed. China, glassware, textiles and furniture, of types to suit United Kingdom requirements, are among the manufactured goods which Poland is able to offer in the first year.

3. There is a gap of £12 million between the Polish programme of purchases and the prospective earnings from Polish exports to the United Kingdom. Both sides are contributing to filling this gap. The Polish Governor cot have offered to supply £0.8 million of coal (about 250,000 tons) for delivery in the first year, when it is important to build up United Kingdom stocks. They also intend to use, for purchases in the United Kingdom, million of the Polish gold which will be due to be released under the Financial Agreement whet it is ratified. In addition, the Polish Government expect to have available about £1½ million from the realisation of various assets in the United Kingdom which will be released when the Anglo-Polish Property Agreement, at present under discussion, is concluded.

4. As the United Kingdom contribution, the Polish Government will be allowed to use £1.5 million of a former gift of surplus stores for the purchase of raw wool, included in the Polish import programme for raw materials. Further, Export Credits Guarantee Department are prepared to give guarantees to British manufacturers for contracts for machinery and other capital goods on terms providing for payment of 60 per cent. of the order by the time of shipment, leaving 40 per cent. on which credit would be extended for a reasonable period. These terms will facilitate the placing. of orders up to a value of £15 million for machinery and other capital goods.

5. The above understandings are at present provisional only. Polish experts will shortly visit the United Kingdom to investigate the possibilities of purchasing United Kingdom goods and to conclude contracts for the sale of Polish goods. (An egg contract has already been made). A further meeting of the two official delegations will take place when these investigations have been completed (in about a month's time) in order to confirm the provisional understandings already reached.