Does my hon. Friend agree that there is a matter of mutual interest to discuss when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State next meets the Commissioner with regard to the continuing problem of the coking coal subsidy for Germany's steel industry which results not only in imports of steel—some of us say unfairly—but also of finished products, such as motor cars?
This is a matter which it may be suitable to discuss, but my hon. Friend will recognise that we are speaking here about subsidies to the coal industry, not to the steel industry. He may wish to follow his interest in the matter, which I know he mentioned to the House earlier last month, by putting a question to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy.
Again, these are matters which it is appropriate to discuss with Commissioner Davignon. However, I think that they have to be looked at in the wider context of steel aids. I believe that on 23 October the House gave helpful support to the Government's approach.
The Government's view is that this is a matter for BSC. We do not think that we should intervene where the Corporation feels that it is in its best interests to import coal. As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, negotiations are proceeding between BSC and the National Coal Board, and I would not wish to say anything that would make those negotiations more difficult.