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Volume 940: debated on Wednesday 30 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has asked for a further meeting with the Soviet Minister or officials with a view to establishing mutually acceptable guidelines for Soviet participation in international maritime trade; and whether any further consultations are anticipated in the near future.

I have not asked for a further meeting. As I have informed the Soviet Minister, I can see no value in a resumption of discussions on general guidelines until progress has been made in resolving some of the specific issues of concern to us.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what consultations are being carried out by him within the EEC to develop a common strategy to defend British shipping interests; and what progress has been made.

A number of shipping issues are being considered within the EEC. One of the most important from our point of view is that of competition from State-trading countries, particularly the Soviet Union. I expect proposals for a co-ordinated or concerted approach will come before the Council of Transport Ministers early in 1978.