Agreements (Foreign Countries).

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 26th March 1936.

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Photo of Mr John Cartland Mr John Cartland , Birmingham King's Norton

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, before concluding any agreements, whether new or revised, with foreign countries, he will submit the proposed terms in full to Empire countries which may be affected in sufficient time for reasonable modifications to be made before such agreements are ratified?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give an assurance that, before opening negotiations for the renewal or modification of existing trade agreements with foreign countries, he will examine with representatives of the Dominions and Colonies concerned the possibilities of supplying from Empire sources on comparable terms United Kingdom requirements at present imported from foreign countries under these agreements?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

It is the practice of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to inform Empire Governments whenever it is intended to enter upon trade negotiations with a foreign country and in this way to afford any part of the Empire, which may be interested, an opportunity of making representations. Such representations always receive most careful consideration, but it would not, I fear, be practicable to delay the conclusion of agreements with foreign countries in the way suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for King's Norton (Mr. Cartland).

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that the Dominions will be brought into consultation during the course of negotiations and not merely invited to make representations?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that he will not only inform the Dominions, but actively consult with all of them?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I do not know how far my hon. Friends would go in consultation, but we are keeping in as close touch with them as we can.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can assure the House that he will not conclude or extend trade agreements with foreign countries for a period beyond the probable date of the conclusion of a revision of the Ottawa Agreements, in order that foreign agreements may., if necessary, be adjusted in the light of such agreements as may be reached with Empire countries?

Photo of Mr Walter Runciman Mr Walter Runciman , St Ives

I have noted my hon. Friend's suggestion. As he will appreciate, I cannot forecast the dates on which, or the periods for which, it may be found necessary to make new or revised trade agreements with foreign countries, but representations from any part of the Empire in connection with commercial negotiations always receive the fullest consideration.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

Does my right hon. Friend recognise that it is important, when we approach the next Imperial Economic Conference, that we should not go with our hands tied?