HC Deb 02 May 1932 vol 265 cc791-3

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether His Majesty's Government propose to give notice to terminate the existing trade agreement with the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics and to negotiate a fresh agreement, with a view to equalising the present disparity of trade between the United Kingdom and the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics?

43. Captain RAMSAY

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is now ready to bring forward legislation in the shape of quotas, differentiating tariffs, or prohibitions to deal with the damage to our trade which is still being caused by the trade policy of Russia?

Mr. JOHN COLVILLE (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

I would refer my hon. Friends to the answer given by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) on 26th April, of which I am sending them copies.


Is the hon. Gentle man aware that the great majority in the House support the suggestion made in this question; and can he inform the House what is the alternative method which the Government have had in mind for so long?


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a very large pro portion of the people outside in the country who think at all, are opposed to the suggestion?


Are we to wait until after the Ottawa Conference?

Captain RAMSAY

Is it not the fact that the leaders of the vast majority in this House said quite clearly, up and down the country, a short time ago that Russia's foreign trade policy amounts to economic war; and has any change taken place in that policy since then?


In reply to all four supplementary questions, if my hon. Friends will examine the answer to which I have referred, and the supplementary answers which follow it, they will see that the Government are fully aware of the difficulties of the position and are determined that our trade with Russia shall be made to balance more nearly in the future.


Are there not other countries in regard to which the trade balance is worse than that of Russia?


In no other case does a country buy solely through the Government.