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Goods Of Chinese Origin (Imports)

Volume 496: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1952

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asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will say what commodities of Chinese origin, showing total values, have been imported from European countries now under the domination of the Soviet Union, indicating each country separately; whether he is aware that these countries send China supplies of strategic materials which, in agreement with the United States and other members of the United Nations we do not export to China; and if he will consult with other friendly Governments with a view to ensuring that the objects of British trade policy with China are not short-circuited in this way.

I am aware that we have imported from Czechoslovakia and Poland such goods as bristles and soya beans, some of which may have come from China. The Trade and Navigation Accounts do not, however, show which goods consigned to the United Kingdom from other countries are of Chinese origin, and I am not able, therefore, to furnish my hon. and gallant Friend with definite information. It may be the case that European countries under Russian domination export strategic goods to China, but I do not see how we could expect to defeat that policy by refusing to allow the import of materials, which we need, on the ground that some consignments might come from China.