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European Economic Community

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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12.

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the changed situation concerning the Common Market, if he will institute a detailed study of the likely advantages and disadvantages to United Kingdom trade if Great Britain were to join the European Economic Community.

I am not certain what "changed situation" the hon. Member has in mind, but we have constantly under study the likely advantages and disadvantages to United Kingdom trade of various possible forms of closer economic association in Europe.

Does not the Minister of State think that it would be useful to communicate to a wider sphere, particularly the House of Commons, what some of those advantages and disadvantages are? This movement has gone on for some time now. We have had almost incomprehensible statements of an unhelpful nature from the President of the Board of Trade. Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that it would be more useful to set out in a White Paper some of the obvious advantages and some of the disadvantages there may be for us, so that we may understand the problem?

The basic facts about our trade are available from a number of publications. I shall be glad to give the hon. Member the details. As to the wider suggestion of a White Paper, I doubt whether it would have any value at present, but I will make sure that the suggestion is brought to the notice of my right hon. Friend.