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Volume 886: debated on Monday 17 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he intends to make an official visit to Norway.

The Secretary of State for Trade and President of the Board of Trade
(Mr. Peter Shore)

I intend to arrange a visit to Norway within the next few months, but I have no firm date as yet.

I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's announcement. Will he take this opportunity to learn that Norway operates on a different economic scale from this country and consequently that if Britain were to leave the Community there would be little chance of our obtaining the sort of free trade agreement with the Community that Norway obtained?

I hope to learn a number of things from my visit to Norway, and I hope to observe the obvious prosperity which Norway is enjoying in spite of the many gloomy forecasts to the contrary exactly three years ago.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that before the referendum in Norway the public were told that all sorts of appalling consequences would follow if they did not join the EEC, and that none of them has followed?

My right hon. Friend is right. There are, of course, special factors such as oil which have helped, but the story of Norway in recent years has been one of a highly successful economy.