Exports to China

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th November 1960.

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Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn 12:00 am, 29th November 1960

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will approach the United States Government in order to obtain an assurance that applications for a licence to export to China goods manufactured in the United Kingdom which, under the United States Trading with the Enemy Act, 1917, any American-owned company in this country is required to make will not be rejected by the United States authorities where such an application does not conflict with the export policies of the United Kingdom.

Photo of Mr Frederick Erroll Mr Frederick Erroll , Altrincham and Sale

No, Sir. If the hon. Member has in mind a specific case, my right hon. Friend would be glad to consider the matter further.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the American Government have placed a complete embargo on exports to China and that, under the foreign assets control regulations under the 1917 Act referred to in the Question, this embargo applies automatically to exports from any American-owned company in this country or any subsidiary manufacturing in Britain? Is he aware that in 1957 Remingtons were prohibited and prevented from exporting typewriters to China under those regulations, and that, therefore, Fords can also be prevented from exporting lorries, cars or tractors to China? Is not this a very serious matter, and will he do something about it?

Photo of Mr Frederick Erroll Mr Frederick Erroll , Altrincham and Sale

I am in full agreement with the hon. Lady that this is a serious matter. The regulations have been in force since 1951, and we have not so far found any reason to make representations about their operation, but if we are presented with a current specific case, I can assure the hon. Lady that my right hon. Friend will be very glad indeed to look into it.

Photo of Sir John Langford-Holt Sir John Langford-Holt , Shrewsbury

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the House last week I made a statement that Fords in Detroit had used exactly this method and refused to allow the Dagenham company to export tractors to China? Has he made any further inquiries into that aspect?

Photo of Mr Frederick Erroll Mr Frederick Erroll , Altrincham and Sale

That matter is being looked into. However, I should like to point out that the Question relates specifically to regulations under the Trading with the Enemy Act, 1917. There are, of course, certain other regulations which are not covered in the Question.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I give notice that I shall try to raise this matter on the Adjournment.