HC Deb 27 February 1924 vol 170 cc453-4

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that the German Government refuse to allow import licences for British cotton goods, and that this is causing serious unemployment in Lancashire; is he aware that the prices charged in Germany for German cotton goods are in excess of world prices, and that the removal of the prohibition will enable large quantities of Lancashire goods to be exported to Germany; and will he make urgent representations to the German Government?

Mr. W. LUNN (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

I have been asked to reply. I am aware of the difficulty, and if import licences were given more freely by Germany the Lancashire cotton trade might, no doubt, benefit. As regards the second part of the question, statements have appeared in the German Press, the effect of which is that prices of textiles in Germany are high in relation to world prices. As at present advised, I do not

Number of light cruisers built on 27th February, 1924, less than 12 years old. Number of light cruisers actually building on 27th February, 1924. Number of light cruisers in full commission.
British Empire 46 4 34
Japan 16 6 14
France 4 3 4
U.S.A 7 3 7

think that there is any action which His Majesty's Government could usefully take in the matter. As I informed my hon. Friend, the Member for West Leicester, on Monday, the German tendency at present is towards the removal of import licence requirements.


Will the hon. Gentleman take into consideration that the 26 per cent. Reparation Tax is just about to be largely reduced; and will he make that a lever to obtain a corresponding advantage to British traders?


I cannot go into that question.


Have we no control over them?


Will the Government consider the possibility of using the claims that we have against the Germans as a means of obtaining freedom of trade for that country?


I do not think that that arises out of the question on the Paper.


Cannot the hon. Gentleman make it a condition of the 26 per cent.?