HC Deb 05 June 1934 vol 290 cc730-1
10. Mr. PIKE

asked the President of the Board of Trade if, in view of the adverse position of our trade with Spain, it is the intention of the Government to open negotiations for a new commercial treaty with that country?


The possibility of initiating commercial negotiations with Spain is being borne in mind, but I cannot at present say at what date it may be possible to reach a decision.


Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the Government of Spain are desirous of opening negotiations with this country with a view to arriving at a new commercial agreement?


I am afraid that I can express no opinion upon that point.

8. Mr. PIKE (for Mr. STOURTON)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has induced the Spanish Government to remedy certain exchange restrictions and to reduce the gold surcharge increases of the duties upon British exports to Spain; is he aware that most-favoured-nation arrangements confer no benefits upon British trade with Spain; and will he take steps to delete most-favoured-nation clauses in Anglo-Spanish trade agreements?


Exchange control in Spain has not in the past led to any serious difficulties. Certain recent changes have, however, been made in procedure which appear to have led to delays in settlement, and the matter is being investigated. The gold surcharge on Spanish duties is applied to imports from all countries, and no request has been made by His Majesty's Government for a reduction. As regards the second and third parts of the question, I am unable to agree with my hon. Friend that the most-favoured-nation clause in our Treaty with Spain secures no benefit for our trade. In fact in many cases the duties levied in Spain on goods from countries not possessing treaty rights are much higher than those we enjoy by virtue of the clause.