HC Deb 10 July 1923 vol 166 cc1145-6
4. Major-General Sir ROBERT HUTCHISON

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that British importers of lithopone from Germany who made contracts before the 1st of February find it almost impossible to get delivery of their goods, because the French authorities will not issue export licences, even after the payment of the French 7 per cent. duty, and that although the French authorities, under pressure, agreed to issue export licences, they in fact put every obstacle in the way of British traders receiving these licences; and will he say what he can do in the matter to protect British trade interests?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. If the hon. and gallant Member will furnish me with particulars of the cases which he has in mind, I will make inquiry.


Is that not the case that the trouble referred to in the question is due to the Germans, and not to the French? Is it not the case that the. French, in the action they are taking, are merely doing what the British only two years ago agreed should be done if the Germans did not pay?


In this case what has happened—as I have told the House several times—is that an arrangement has been come to between the French and the German Government that the pre-occupation contracts should be bought out, and that I have every reason to hope and believe will be done.