§ 2. Mr. RAMSDEN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether it is now proposed to establish some form of clearing house between this country and those where restrictions on foreign payments are now in existence?
§ 10. Mr. CHORLTON
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can now describe the agreements made to establish clearing house or other arrangements to overcome the present handicaps under which the export trade of this country is suffering?
§ Mr. JOHN COLVILLE (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)
On 8th February in reply to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for Keighley (Captain Watt) I gave reasons why His Majesty's Government felt that the adoption of a clearing-house system would not on the whole be of benefit to the trading community. Since then the results of various clearinghouse systems in other countries have been carefully observed and this view is confirmed. It is not therefore proposed to institute such a system. It is considered, however, that benefit might re- 212 suit from agreements to facilitate the use of frozen or blocked accounts in foreign currencies for the purchase of goods for export. Endeavours will therefore be made to arrange experimental agreements of this nature with certain foreign countries, and for this purpose legislation will not be required.
§ Sir ARTHUR MICHAEL SAMUEL
Can my hon. Friend say whether they will be raw materials or manufactured goods?
§ Mr. COLVILLE
At this stage, I cannot add to my present answer, but all classes of goods may be taken into consideration.
§ Mr. HANNON
Can my hon. Friend say whether he thinks that this suggested experiment can be brought to some conclusion before the House rises, and will he be able to make any statement on this important matter before the House rises?
§ Mr. COLVILLE
As I have indicated, this will not require legislation, but we shall endeavour to secure agreement as quickly as possible.