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Schuman Plan

Volume 486: debated on Monday 9 April 1951

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what steps he is taking to meet the threat to the British coal ex port trade consequent on the initialling of the Schuman Plan Treaty on 19th March last.

With respect, I do not accept the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion that the initialling of the Schuman Plan constitutes a threat to the British export trade in coal. In any case, the interim provisions annexed to the draft treaty provide that the High Authority shall forthwith start negotiations with other Governments, and in particular, with the Government of the United Kingdom about the general economic and commercial problems of coal and steel.

Does not the Minister consider that the formation of what practically amounts to a cartel in Europe is bound to cause anxiety? Before the signing of the treaty would he not carefully consider the effect that it is bound to have upon the coal export trade?

We are considering the implications now, and the negotiations which will take place.