HC Deb 12 February 1934 vol 285 cc1570-1
17. Mr. NUNN

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the confusion to business which is being caused by the attempt to introduce the metric system in China as from 1st February with only two months' notice; and whether he will make representations to the Government of China that, in the interests of international trade, an adequate interval should be allowed for more favourable conditions to be established for the application of the new system?


Representations in the sense desired by my hon. Friend, were made to the Chinese Government last month without result. The metric system has now been officially introduced, and in the circumstances it would appear that no useful purpose would be served by further representations. At the same time should any specific case of special hardship be brought to my attention, I shall be prepared to consider whether any further action can usefully be taken in the matter.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that this matter has been gone about very slowly by other countries, and that Japan, for instance, passed a domestic law in 1924 and after a 10 years' attempt to introduce it, has now extended the period for a further five years; and will he consider the possibility of making representations, in view of the serious obstacles that this system will put in the way particularly of British trade?


I can assure my hon. Friend that all those considerations were in our mind. Of course, in the last resort it is for foreign Governments to decide what system of measurement they want to adopt.