Trade with Eastern Germany

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st January 1958.

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Photo of Mr Ian Mikardo Mr Ian Mikardo , Reading 12:00 am, 21st January 1958

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking, or proposing to take, to assist British manufacturers who wish to initiate or increase exports of their products to Eastern Germany.

Photo of Mr John Vaughan-Morgan Mr John Vaughan-Morgan , Reigate

Exporters enjoy the same facilities for trade with Eastern Germany as for trade with other countries in the Soviet bloc, within the limits set by the fact that Her Majesty's Government do not recognise the present East German authorities as a Government.

Photo of Mr Ian Mikardo Mr Ian Mikardo , Reading

Is not the hon. Member aware that the other N.A.T.O. countries, which equally do not recognise the East German Government, nevertheless have facilitated the creation of unofficial trade agreements and clearance arrangements under which, for example, France, Belgium, Holland, Turkey and West Germany do £150 million worth of trade a year? Why are our manufacturers disadvantaged in competition with these other countries which have the same political attitudes?

Photo of Mr John Vaughan-Morgan Mr John Vaughan-Morgan , Reigate

Under the circumstances that I have outlined the initiative for a trade agreement from our side must rest with the representative trade organisations, as with trade organisations in the countries that the hon. Member has cited. I understand that certain of these trade organisations are at present in touch with each other, with a view to making these arrangements.

Photo of Mr Ian Mikardo Mr Ian Mikardo , Reading

Is it not a fact that negotiations to this end, which were undertaken by the Federation of British Industries, have been broken off because of active discouragement by the hon. Gentleman's Department?

Photo of Mr Ian Mikardo Mr Ian Mikardo , Reading

On a point of order. In order to elicit further information about this matter, and because of the half-hearted nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise it on the Adjournment.