§ 11. Mr. HANNON
asked the Secretary for Mines if he will state the percentage decrease in the shipments of coal from this country to France during the first six months of 1931 as compared with the first six months of 1930 and the percentage increase in Polish, Dutch, and Belgian shipments of coal to France during the same period?
§ Mr. SHINWELL
As compared with the corresponding period of 1930, exports of coal from this country to France during the first six months of 1931 decreased by 18½ per cent. Omitting January, however, when shipments were affected by the dispute in South Wales, the decrease was 13 per cent. Coal shipments to France from Poland, Holland and Belgium during the first five months of 1931, the latest period for which information is available, increased by 40, 37 and 43 per cent., respectively.
§ Mr. HANNON
Are we to understand that, while the export of British coal is steadily diminishing, the export of coal from other exporting countries of Europe is on the increase?
§ 23. Mr. MANDER
asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps are being taken to bring to the attention of the French Government the effect on em- 1222 ployment in this country which will be caused by their proposal to reduce coal imports into France by a system of import licences; and what international engagements exist in connection with this matter?
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. William Graham)
The French Government have now brought into force a system of restricting coal imports by admitting coal only under licence. His Majesty's Embassy have been in touch with the French authorities during the time when the scheme was in preparation with a view to safeguarding British interests. France is under no treaty obligation towards this country which would prevent her from imposing this restriction.
§ Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
Therefore, the simple answer is that the right hon. Gentleman can do nothing?