Trade Agreements and Negotiations.

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 4th May 1933.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

39.

asked the President of the Board of Trade with which foreign countries trade agreements and treaties are now under active consideration by His Majesty's Government?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

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.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

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?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

It is not for me to dispose of the time of the House, but, of course, everyone desires the House to see and approve these agreements.

Photo of Mr Gordon Hall Caine Mr Gordon Hall Caine , Dorset Eastern

40.

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?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

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.

Photo of Mr Arthur Reed Mr Arthur Reed , Exeter

42.

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?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

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.

Photo of Mr Arthur Reed Mr Arthur Reed , Exeter

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?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I should require notice of that question.

Major HARVEY:

44.

asked the President of the Board of Trade at what figure of exchange the peso is to be taken in the payments to the United Kingdom by the Argentine Government envisaged in Article 2 of the Trade Convention between this country and the Argentine Government, dated 1st May, 1933?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

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.

Major HARVEY:

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any definite figure as regards the 12,000,000 pesos supposed to be immediately released?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

No, Sir, I am afraid I cannot give any definite figure.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hammersley Mr Samuel Hammersley , Stockport

49.

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?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

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.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hammersley Mr Samuel Hammersley , Stockport

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?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I think if I had time to consider that question I would probably agree.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

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?

Photo of Mr Samuel Hammersley Mr Samuel Hammersley , Stockport

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?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

If I thought they could have come off better, I certainly would not have been a party to the agreements.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hammersley Mr Samuel Hammersley , Stockport

50.

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he will be in a position to make his promised statement relative to Japanese competition?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I am afraid I cannot yet give a date.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hammersley Mr Samuel Hammersley , Stockport

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that in his projected negotiations with Japan, to which he referred the other day, the consideration of sharing the British market in the British Colonies and Dependencies with Japan, will not be considered?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I think I had better wait and see the proposals put forward before I give any answer.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

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?