HC Deb 10 April 1922 vol 153 cc12-3
23. Mr. HURD

asked the Secretary for Mines whether his attention has been called to statements that British coal exports to France and Belgium have to compete upon extremely disadvantageous terms with German reparation coal, the value of which under the Treaty of Versailles is based upon the German pit price; and whether any of this German reparation coal that may be surplus to our Allies' present requirements is exported by them to other Continental markets to the exclusion of British coal?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Bridgeman)

I have seen statements of the kind referred to. They are based on a misapprehension. It is true that, for the purpose of the reparation account, the value of deliveries of German coal is reckoned on the German pit price basis, but the price charged to French and Belgian consumers for this coal is-regulated by their Governments, and is sufficiently high to avoid competition with coal produced at French and Belgian mines. But for the reparation arrangements, the coal thus supplied by Germany could have entered the open markets of Europe upon terms against which British coal might have had great difficulty in competing owing to the unfavourable state of the exchanges. With regard to the second part of the question, my information does not confirm the suggestion that German reparation coal is being exported from France and Belgium. A statement recently published by the French Minister of Finance shows that all the fuel delivered by Germany to France has been allotted for consumption in France. I may also refer my hon. Friend to an answer given to the hon. and gallant Member for Durham on 13th February last.

Back to
Forward to