Mr Edmund Dell: I have received a number of representations calling for further import controls and have taken action in certain cases. I take the view that a more general policy of import controls would lead to retaliatory action against our exports because the majority of our major trading partners have the same problems of high unemployment as we have and would, therefore, be unlikely to acquiesce in...
Mr Edmund Dell: I take the view that in certain cases—as we have done with Japan—it is possible to negotiate voluntary restraint arrangements, but more general restraint would provoke emulation and retaliation. It may be true that this is an easy and attractive market. That is a very good reason why British industry should make itself competitive to supply it.
Mr Edmund Dell: We shall certainly resist generalised import controls but, as I have made clear on a number of occasions—most recently at the OECD ministerial council—unless we can relaunch world trade on to a course of a higher rate of expansion, there will, I am afraid, be further deterioration in protectionist directions.
Mr Edmund Dell: It is certainly true that consumers have a considerable interest in avoiding import controls. On the other hand, if the present levels of unemployment in the developed world and elsewhere continue, I have no doubt that in the end Governments will increasingly put the interests of their producers first and introduce further import controls.
Mr Edmund Dell: My hon. Friend has a later Question on that subject. We have already taken some action in respect of special steels. If he is assuming that his Question will not be reached, may I say to him now that, if he has information which we ought to consider, we shall certainly be prepared to look at it.
Mr Edmund Dell: No date is fixed.
Mr Edmund Dell: We thought that it was right to permit British Airways to purchase the 19 737s. As to any British contribution to the B10 and the association of British Airways with any such arrangement, I must make it clear that the Government have no power to require British Airways to purchase aircraft, and one would expect, therefore, that the independence of British Airways in this respect would...
Mr Edmund Dell: I am certainly very concerned about delays in passing passengers through Heathrow Airport. It is a serious matter. We are looking into it. There are many aspects to it, including the number of immigration officers. Nevertheless, it presents great difficulties. I know that the British Airports Authority is very much concerned about it and is doing what it can.
Mr Edmund Dell: Certainly I expect that it will be converted into a purchase. The hon. Member may have seen the statement of Mr. Ross Stainton following my announcement.
Mr Edmund Dell: My hon. Friend may be absolutely right. There may be nothing urgent about that particular provision in the legislation to which he refers and of which he is so fond. Nevertheless, the legislation generally may have been urgent.
Mr Edmund Dell: I understand from the hon. Gentleman's question that an incoming Government of his complexion might trammel British Airways' freedom in this respect. As to the proposed contracts under negotiation, it would certainly damage British interests considerably if there were unnecessary delays in making decisions about these matters. I think that it would be intolerable for this country to lose...
Mr Edmund Dell: When I met recently the chairman of the Interim Action Committee, my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) and some of his colleagues, I confirmed my acceptance in principle of the case for the setting up of a British Film Authority. I also mentioned that there were several proposals in the committee's first report on which it would be helpful to have further information...
Mr Edmund Dell: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is aware of the industry's taxation proposals and no doubt will consider them but bearing in mind the implications of such proposals for other industries. As for putting additional production interests on the Interim Action Committee—I take it that that is what the hon. Gentleman meant—one of the problems in this industry is getting...
Mr Edmund Dell: There are discussions on barring currently in progress with the exhibitors. As regards the Children's Film Foundation, I understand that the full grant has been recently paid.
Mr Edmund Dell: The overseas trade statistics are kept under continuous review.
Mr Edmund Dell: An article was recently published in Trade and Industry which brought out the point that the hon. Gentleman mentions. Therefore, those students of the subject who are interested can inform themselves about it.
Mr Edmund Dell: That is precisely the question—whether our trade figures would be improved by action of the kind that my hon. Friend recommends. If as a result we lost exports, the balance of trade figures would not be improved.
Mr Edmund Dell: I cannot forecast when the balance of the £950 million credit made available will be taken up.
Mr Edmund Dell: I doubt whether the hon. Gentleman's interpretation of the result of these credit arrangements is correct. If we do not provide the Soviet Union with credit on comparable terms with that provided by our major industrialised competitors, we shall get even less business from it than we do now.
Mr Edmund Dell: I hope shortly to visit China, and no doubt that will be among the matters I shall be discussing with the Chinese. I hope that I do not have to come back early from my visit.