HC Deb 29 November 1906 vol 166 cc274-5

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the suggestion which has been referred to him by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that newly-appointed vice-consuls should, prior to their leaving for their posts abroad, be enabled to visit the chief commercial and manufacturing centres in the United Kingdom, particularly those connected by trade with the consular districts to which they are to proceed, he will communicate with the chambers of commerce in such centres with a view to facilities being afforded for the vice-consuls to visit representative manufacturing establishments and to become better acquainted, by personal intercourse with the chambers of commerce, manufacturers, and traders, with the kind of consular information which those bodies and classes consider of most value?

(Answered by Mr. LIoyd-Greorge.) I propose to consult the Advisory Committee on Commercial Intelligence on the suggestion of my hon. friend. As at present advised I am disposed to attach more importance to making arrangements for consular officers already appointed to various districts abroad and possessing knowledge and experience of of those districts to pay visits, when in the United Kingdom, to the chief commercial and manufacturing centres connected by trade with their consular districts. In several cases the Board of Trade, in co-operation with the Foreign Office, have arranged visits of this kind, with useful results, and I hope that it will be possible to extend the system. Newly-appointed consular officers spend some weeks in the Commercial Intelligence Branch of the Board of Trade before proceeding to their posts.