HC Deb 29 April 1935 vol 301 cc21-2

(by Private Notice) asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can make a statement as to the recent commercial negotiations between this country and Italy?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

Yes, Sir. As a result of the negotiations it has been agreed that the best course for the present is to continue, with certain adaptations, the provisional arrangement which was concluded on the 18th March, 1935. Either Government has the right to terminate the arrangement at the end of any month from June onwards or to propose new negotiations for a definitive agreement. The arrangements now made, which come into force on 1st May, 1935, are set out in an exchange of notes dated 27th April, 1935, the text of which will be laid before the House immediately.

I would draw particular attention to the following point: The Italian Government will arrange that all persons in this country from whom payments are due to persons in Italy in respect of Italian goods exported to the United Kingdom on or after the 18th March, 1935, and of freights earned by Italian ships carrying goods between the two countries and due on or after 1st May, 1935, shall be authorised by the creditors in Italy to make such payments to a special sterling account at the Bank of England, into which all sums received from Italian exports to the United Kingdom and from the freights referred to above are to be paid. This special sterling account is to be used to pay creditors in the United Kingdom to whose credit lire have been deposited in Italy, in respect of United Kingdom exports to Italy and freight for the carriage of goods between the two countries in British ships. I would, therefore, specially urge all those who have payments to make to Italy, in respect of Italian goods exported on or after 18th March, 1935, and all those who, as from 1st May, 1935, owe freight for the carriage of goods between the two countries in Italian ships, to arrange to pay the amounts due, to this special sterling account at the Bank of England. A full explanatory statement on this point will be issued shortly, and copies will be available at banks and chambers of commerce. I hope that this arrangement will be in full operation in a few days time.

As regards the Italian system of regulating imports, certain modifications are to be made which will give the system greater elasticity in various respects, and at the same time provision is made in regard to the United Kingdom import trade in certain classes of goods, such as raw wool, which are subject to special regimes in Italy. A second exchange of notes, signed at the same time, is designed to facilitate exports of Newfoundland cod fish to Italy, this being a matter of particular concern to His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, in view of their special responsibility for Newfoundland at the present time.


When will the White Paper giving full details be available?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

At six o'clock to-night.


Does this temporary arrangement in any way override the arrangement made by Mr. William Graham during the time of the last Labour Government, whereby Italy was to buy 1,000,000 tons more coal per annum? Will that arrangement still remain in operation?

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