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Commonwealth Sterling Area Trade

Volume 722: debated on Tuesday 14 December 1965

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration he has given to the memorandum on Commonwealth sterling area trade and payments submitted to the Commonwealth trade officials meeting by the Commonwealth Industries Association and the Economic Research Council; and what action he has taken.

I have read the memorandum which the right hon. Member was good enough to send me. As he knows, international discussions on liquidity and aid have been proceeding under a new impetus since September.

As the Commonwealth countries have shown great interest in this memorandum, will the Chancellor conduct a close examination into this proposal before the Commonwealth Trade Ministers' meeting next year?

I have studied it, and I think that it has a number of ideas which might form part of the discussions that are going on; but I do not think that I could undertake to sponsor it as a conference document.

Could not the Chancellor give a warmer reply on this? Does not he agree that this is an imaginative and ingenious proposal for facing a very real and difficult problem? Could not he undertake to have a close examination made of this in advance of the meeting of Ministers to which my right hon. Friend referred?

I have had an examination made of it. I do not think that it is cast in a form in which it could be submitted to a meeting of Commonwealth Ministers, but that is not to say that any ideas which are of value should not be extracted—and they will be.