North Atlantic Free Trade Area

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th July 1968.

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Photo of Mr Maurice Foley Mr Maurice Foley , West Bromwich 12:00 am, 26th July 1968

He may well read our debates this morning. I want to begin with the more recent developments in this area particularly the Montebello conference in 1956, organised by the Private Planning Association of Canada. At that time the principal sponsors appeared to be business interests in pulp, paper and aluminium who were anxious to achieve a North Atlantic free trade area rather than a new, wider grouping. There were few references to the policy problems that may confront the United Kingdom if it were to participate in such arrangements. Stemming from that conference, Canadian Ministers, particularly Mr. Lester Pearson, and representatives of the United States Government, displayed very little interest in its work or findings, believing that priority should be given to fostering a multilateral approach to the liberalisation of trade.

There is still no evidence that there has beer, any change of mind by the Canadian, or United States Governments. It remains a major factor in considering the relevance of an Atlantic free trade area than there is no evidence of Governmental support for it in either Washington or Ottawa.