asked the President of the Board of Trade what action was taken on the report of the Board of Trade Committee on the iron and steel industry that advised the formation of a syndicate for the purchase and distribution of the iron-ore resources within the British Empire; and why has this policy not been applied in the case of the Yampi Sound and the Blythe River resources of Australia?
I presume that the committee to which the hon. Member refers is that which was appointed by the Board of Trade in 1916 to consider the position of the iron and steel trades after the War. Since the report of that committee was issued there has been a greater degree of co-operation between the units of the iron and steel industry for the purchase and distribution of iron-ore, both from Empire and from foreign countries, and the British Iron and Steel Federation have been able to increase the measure of cooperation. As regards the last part of the question, the possibility of importing iron-ore into the United Kingdom from Australia has been considered from time to time, but I am informed that the cost of freight in relation to the value of the ore renders it impossible to deliver ore to the United Kingdom at an economic price in competition with ore from other sources involving much lower transport costs.