Paper and Board Industry

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th October 1971.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West 12:00 am, 25th October 1971

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in discussions with the Scandinavian members the European Free Trade Association concerning the future of the United Kingdom paper and board industry.

Photo of Mr John Eden Mr John Eden , Bournemouth West

Talks are continuing between representatives of the United Kingdom industry and their Scandinavian counterparts.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Can the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that it is the Government's firm intention to take whatever steps are required to maintain an independent United Kingdom paper industry? Can he give a categoric assurance that the Scandinavian countries are fully conforming to the E.F.T.A. agreements?

Photo of Mr John Eden Mr John Eden , Bournemouth West

I would rather wait to see the outcome of the talks now taking place between the British and the Scandinavian industries. It would be better to await the report of these talks before taking any further decisions.

Photo of Mr Peter Trew Mr Peter Trew , Dartford

Is my hon. Friend aware of the fears in the industry that Sweden and Finland are seeking a form of association with the E.E.C. which would give them the benefits of membership without any of the obligations? Have Her Majesty's Government made an representations on this matter?

Photo of Mr John Eden Mr John Eden , Bournemouth West

The Commission of the E.E.C. has not yet put proposals to Her Majesty's Government about the terms on which the trade arrangements for non-applicant E.F.T.A. countries should be negotiated. When these proposals have been put to us we shall know how best to proceed.