HC Deb 19 July 1933 vol 280 cc1794-6
6. Mr. LEVY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if, in view of the extent to which Japanese competition is ousting British trade from our Colonies and dependencies and the fact that Japan is taking little or nothing in return from these Colonies and dependencies, he will state what action he proposes to take?


The policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to Japanese competition was explained in the Debate on the 2nd June on the Motion for the Whitson Adjournment. It is intended that the whole question, including the position in Colonial markets, should be explored in the course of the discussions which the President of the Board of Trade has initiated between representatives of United Kingdom and Japanese industry.


Is my right hon. Friend aware of the widespread character throughout the Empire of this competition, based on cheap labour and long hours; and can he or the President of the Board of Trade give the House and industry an assurance that effective measures will not be delayed until it is too late?


In considering this problem, will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to look into the allegation that is made that the Japanese, in exporting these commodities, have eliminated the middleman, whereas the middleman takes an undue share of the profits in this connection in this country?


In answer to the first supplementary question, I repeat that the very fact that there is this competition, which is very widespread, is the reason why the President of the Board of Trade has arranged these discussions, which will cover every market. As regards the second supplementary question, I am afraid I know nothing about that subject.


Has my right hon. Friend received very strong representations from Jamaica on this matter, and will he consider giving effect to the wishes of Jamaica?


I have on very many occasions stated the Colonial position quite simply. It is that, as regards treaties, we are perfectly prepared to take whatever action those who are interested in the trade of this country consider is of advantage to them.


In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman told me a moment or two ago that he knew nothing about the subject which I raised in my supplementary question, may I ask if he will be good enough to look into it?


That is a question which ought to be addressed to the President of the Board of Trade.


While thanking my right hon. Friend for his reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.


asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the state of the negotiations between his Department and the Japanese Government upon the subject of cotton textile imports into this country; and if any agreement has yet been reached upon the question of silver stabilisation, in view of the importance of this matter also in such negotiation upon imports?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE(Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

As regards the first part of the question I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Ardwick (Captain Fuller) on 4th July. As regards the second part of the question, I do not think it would be expedient to attempt to deal with the question of silver in the course of the proposed discussions between the United Kingdom and Japanese industrialists. The silver question as such is likely to come before the Monetary and Financial Commission of the World Conference very shortly.


Will my hon. and gallant Friend take guidance from the bankers in this country upon this most vital question of silver and the use of it?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

All necessary advice is being taken to deal with this question.