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Trade With China

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 28 July 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the agreements reached at Geneva on 20th July, he will make a statement about the relaxation of restrictions on trade between the United Kingdom and China.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now, following the truce settlement in Indo-China, propose in the United Nations that the special embargo imposed on trade with China in May, 1951, be rescinded, and that exports to China be subject only to the same strategic restrictions as are in force in respect of shipments to Eastern Europe.

As the right hon. Gentlemen are aware, a Chinese trade mission recently visited the United Kingdom and a British trade mission is to visit China. These talks cover all trade outside the strategic embargo. As for goods falling within the embargo, these are a matter for international decision, and I have no statement to make on that at the moment.

As this embargo was originally imposed on account of the Korean War, and as the cease-fire has been achieved both in Korea and Indonesia, thanks partly to the efforts of the right hon. Gentleman, will the United Kingdom Government not now take some initiative in the United Nations to get relaxation?

These are questions which range far beyond the view of Her Majesty's Government. They are connected with the possibility of a Korean settlement. I would not be able to add anything to what I have said this afternoon.

Is it not a fact that the Chinese trade mission over here seems to be wishing to acquire large quantities of steel and other strategic materials? So long as we have no evidence of peaceful co-existence with that country will my right hon. Friend watch the situation very carefully?

It is natural that countries should wish to acquire things on the embargo list. I was dealing with our position which, as my hon. Friend will be aware, is covered by what I have said.

In view of the fact that the somewhat comparable problem of the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc in Europe has been the subject of fairly successful international consultation resulting in an easing of, at any rate, some of the restrictions, would not the right hon. Gentleman think the time is now opportune for negotiating international discussions of the same kind to lead to something like the same result?