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East-West Trade

Volume 529: debated on Tuesday 29 June 1954

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15.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement following the further consideration given to relaxations of restrictions on East-West trade.

My right hon. Friend regrets that he is not yet in a position to make a statement.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that for a long time there has been widespread dissatisfaction and concern over this matter? Although he says he cannot yet make a statement, would it not be helpful if a statement were made as to how much longer it will be before these relaxations are introduced?

I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are just as anxious as he is that these discussions shall be brought to a satisfactory conclusion. A statement will be made at the earliest moment.

Is the Minister aware that his answer has been the same for many weeks? Can he give an assurance that a statement will be made before the Summer Recess?

The right hon. Gentleman will remember that my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade said at the end of March that he expected that these discussions might last two or three months. The three months are not yet quite up. I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree that it is not unprecedented for international discussions to last a little longer than expected.

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can give an assurance that progress is not being held up by Her Majesty's Government.

27.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will issue an up-to-date list of the goods and articles for the export of which to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and to the Republic of China, respectively, licences may and may not be granted by his Department.

As regards the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) on 3rd June.

The China embargo list was published in the OFFICIAL REPORT on 19th June, 1951. There have been minor changes and traders should continue to consult the Board of Trade or the Ministry of Supply, as may be appropriate, about particular goods. A list which gives a general indication of the kinds of goods for which normally an export licence for China would be granted was published in the Board of Trade Journal of 12th June last.

Will the Minister say whether it is the policy of his Department to expand these lists or not? Does he realise that the promotion of international trade with these countries may have an important, beneficial and far-reaching effect on world peace?

I think the hon. and learned Gentleman knows the Government's policy on this matter. So far as the embargo list in relation to the Soviet bloc goes, we are engaged in discussions with a view to reducing the size of the list. There are no discussions proceeding and no proposals to change the present list in relation to China.