asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on his visit to the British Industrial Fair in Peking on 2nd November; and if he will detail the orders for British goods, and particularly Scottish goods, which will follow from the visit.
I refer my hon. Friend to the Answer my right hon. Friend gave in the House on 12th November to my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis). Since that time I have heard of a certain number of contracts concluded and negotiations for others are understood to be in progress. I have not yet seen any reports of contracts concluded by Scottish firms.
While expressing appreciation of the enterprise of the President of the Board of Trade in undertaking this long and novel trip to develop new markets for British enterprise, may I ask my hon. Friend to particularise what goods the Chinese want that Scotland can supply and what orders are likely to emerge from the trip?
I am afraid that I cannot give itemised information in reply to my hon. and learned Friend's supplementary question, but very few Scottish firms applied for places at the exhibition. Had it been otherwise, perhaps he would have been better informed.
Can the hon. Gentleman give the assurance that the whole House would, I am sure, wish to have—that opportunities for increased trade with China, which many of us believe to be very great, will be prosecuted by the Government in association with private firms with vigour following plans laid by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath)?
Certainly, whatever opportunities occur will be pursued as vigorously in China as they are in all other markets, in accordance with the full intention of the Government.
Although it may be the case, as my hon. Friend has said, that many Scottish firms did not apply for space at the exhibition, is he aware that Fairfield Shipbuilding Yard in Govan division made strenuous efforts to embark on trade with China but with very little help from the previous Government when they were in power?
Would the Minister of State ensure that the Chinese are aware that we do not need one single egg from them and that our own domestic production is now at such a level that any increase in trade which depends on Chinese eggs coming into this country is quite unwelcome?
I find it difficult to relate that supplementary question to the Question, but the hon. Gentleman might note that there is a later Question on the subject of eggs.