Commercial agreements with Norway, Sweden and Iceland are now being prepared for signature; preparations are also being made for negotiations with Finland and the Baltic countries. Preliminary discussions have taken place with Poland.
As some apprehension must arise in the case of many trades, which may feel that they are to be called upon to make sacrifices under these agreements, will the right hon. Gentleman give the House an opportunity of discussing these various sacrifices before they are embodied in an agreement?
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of his undertaking that the views of the Import Duties Advisory Committee should be sought on questions affecting the British tariff during the trade negotiations with Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, he will state whether the committee were consulted in every case; and whether their recommendations have been adopted?
The Import Duties Advisory Committee were informed of the requests for tariff reductions made by Norway, Sweden and Denmark and were invited to comment on them. The negotiations were wholly conducted by the Government who, of course, assume full responsibility for the terms of the agreements.
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the existence of an international cartel between the Scandinavian and other European countries for the purpose of controlling the output and prices of sulphite wood-pulp and the recent increase of over 25 per cent. in the prices of that commodity to this country, he will take steps, in negotiating trade agreements with Sweden and Norway, to safe- guard United Kingdom paper manufacturers from exploitation in the purchase of their raw materials?
I am aware that a convention controlling the sales of sulphite wood pulp has been in existence for some years and that recently there has been some increase in the price of this commodity. With regard to the trade agreements with Sweden and Norway, I am unable to add anything to my statement made on 12th April. But I would point out that there are obvious difficulties in dealing, by means of bilateral agreements, with prices fixed internationally.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that during the time the prices of these raw materials have been increasing, these same countries have been importing paper made from those materials at much lower prices; and is he also aware that the paper industry of Great Britain is getting into a very difficult position?
My hon. and gallant Friend will see that the Article in question does not fix any definite rate of conversion, but as regards the bonds to he issued under the Article, it is provided that the rate of conversion end other conditions of the bonds will be agreed between the Argentine Government and a committee representative of the holders of the balances awaiting sterling exchange for remittance to the United Kingdom.
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, with a view to being in a better position to safeguard the interests of the cotton trade when making trade agreements, he will set up some organisation capable of entering into undertakings which will be binding on the cotton industry as a whole?
As my hon. Friend knows, I am in frequent touch with those representing the cotton trade. As at present advised, I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by setting up an organisation on the lines which my hon. Friend appears to have in mind.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that the effect of these trade negotiations have not been disadvantageous, in respect of the cotton trade, by reason of the absence of any such organisation?
In the negotiations with these foreign countries for trade agreements does the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the many representations made by the textile industry of Lancashire?
May I take it from the right hon. Gentleman's reply that he does not think that the cotton trade could have come off better in these trade agreements if another organisation has existed?
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of placing a complete embargo on Japanese goods, in view of Japan having been found guilty of treaty-breaking?