HC Deb 14 June 1920 vol 130 cc854-5

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the great importance of our export trade and its bearing on our industrial and financial prosperity, he can see his way to remove all restrictions on the export of sulphate of ammonia; whether he is aware that the works on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal belonging to the Salt Union, Limited, which were specially constructed for the manufacture and export of sulphate of ammonia, have had to be closed down on account of the restrictions of export; whether he is aware that ample supplies of sulphate of ammonia can be provided to meet all the demands for fertilisers in this country without interference with the export trade; whether he is aware that it is owing to the unfounded fears of the Board of Agriculture that export has been prohibited and manufacturers of sulphate of ammonia forced to join a ring or association of manufacturers of this article to supply the Home market, thereby causing works which produced for the export trade to be closed down; whether he is aware that the late President of the Board of Trade assured the Member for West Toxteth in January and February last that the policy of restriction would be reviewed in the early Spring and the requirements of the export trade borne in mind; and whether he can now see his way to restore this valuable trade by the removal of restrictions?


The restrictions on the export of sulphate of ammonia were imposed at the instance of the Board of Agriculture, and are administered by the Board of Trade on the advice of that Department which is responsible for the maintenance of the supply of fertilisers for agriculture in this country in adequate quantities and at reasonable prices. In view of this and of the introduction in this House of the Fertilisers (Temporary Control of Export) Bill, which has already been passed in another place, I would suggest that any inquiries and representations which my hon. Friend may desire to make on the subject should be addressed to my hon Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Board of Agriculture.


Is my right hon. Friend not fully aware of the importance of our export trade, and will he see that the Board of Trade do something towards increasing our exports and not be dominated by the Board of Agriculture?


I am very anxious to increase exports in every possible way.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the increased price of sulphate of ammonia has a great effect on agriculture and the production of foodstuffs?