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Trade And Commerce

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 29 April 1954

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East-West Trade Controls (Relaxation)

41

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress he has now made towards a major relaxation of controls on East-West trade.

Discussions are at present proceeding in Paris with other Western Governments with a view to introducing the major relaxations on East-West trade which Her Majesty's Government have in view, but I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Although we welcome the discussions that are taking place, since it is now two months since the Prime Minister expressed himself in favour of a substantial relaxation of these controls, can the Minister say how soon he will be able to make a statement?

I would remind the hon. Member that my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade did envisage that these discussions might take two or three months.

Is the Minister aware that before the Recess I suggested to him that the machine tool industry in particular was losing orders? Is it not possible for the President of the Board of Trade to secure the release of controls in that industry?

I do not under-estimate the importance of the point that the right hon. Member has raised, but if he looks as the programme he will agree that so far there has been no avoidable delay. In fact, we have been congratulated on the speed with which we have moved in this matter.

What progress has been made in the Anglo-Hungarian trade negotiations now taking place in London?

That is a separate question. I referred to it in my answer to a Question yesterday.

Merchandise Marks Act (Prosecutions And Infringements)

42

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many prosecutions for alleged offences under the Merchandise Marks Acts have been initiated by his Department in each quinquennium since the original Act was passed; and how many complaints of alleged infringement of the Acts he is now considering.

Since the answer to the first part of the Question contains a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The answer to the second part of the Question is 11.

Can the hon. and learned Gentleman say whether the answer to the first part of the Question shows an increasing sense of responsibility on the part of the Board of Trade in implementing the Merchandise Marks Acts or the contrary? I take it that his answer to the second part was 11. Will the hon. and learned Gentleman say what action is being taken on these complaints?

If the hon. Member will devote his mind to it, he will see that the success of a statute is not measured by the number of prosecutions under it. As to the 11 cases mentioned in answer to the second part of his Question, they are, of course, being investigated.

Following is the table:

Number of prosecutions under the Merchandise Marks Acts initiated by the Board of Trade in each quinquennium since 1888.

Period

Number of prosecutions

1888–18926
1893–189712
1898–19024
1903–19075
1908–191217
1913–191737
1918–19226
1923–19275
1928–193210
1933–193717
1938–194214
1943–19471
1948–19522

Note: The figures given for periods before 1938 are only approximate.