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Colonial Empire (Import Restrictions;

Volume 444: debated on Wednesday 19 November 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the recent appeals issued from his Department, urging the drastic restriction of import licences for British exports to the various Colonies, were issued without adequate co-ordination with the export industries in this country; and whether fresh instructions will be issued without delay to clarify the present situation and to reduce the damage which the recent order has caused to the smooth flow of planned production in this country.

The advice which led to the recent imposition of restrictions on the importation of goods from all sources, including the United Kingdom, into the Colonies was certainly not given without consideration of the effect on United Kingdom exports. Its general object was to ensure that the Colonies should live within their current income and, if possible, accumulate funds for use later when the goods which they require will be in easier supply. The intention was also to help reduce the pressure of demand on the United Kingdom so that the main efforts of this country may be the more effectively directed to producing goods for export to hard currency destinations. The question of what imports from the United Kingdom it is desirable to encourage has, nevertheless, been under further examination and revised instructions will be issued when that examination is complete.