HC Deb 15 December 1936 vol 318 cc2268-9

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is the policy of His Majesty's Government gradually to relax the present restrictions on foreign trade and upon the movement of capital; and, if so, what steps he is taking to achieve this object?


His Majesty's Government have constantly in mind the desirability of securing the removal of restrictions on foreign trade and of any restrictions upon the movements of capital which interfere with foreign trade; and the figures of United Kingdom imports show that there are fewer restrictions on trade with this country that elsewhere. In reply to the second part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 12th November last to questions by the hon. Members for Birkenhead, East (Mr. White) and Pontypool (Mr. Jenkins).


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the object which the Government have in mind might be better achieved if the terms of reference to the Foreign Transactions Advisory Committee were a little less rigid than they are, and will he consider the matter in the future with the object of making the terms a little more flexible?


I think the terms are very flexible, and no doubt the hon. Member is aware that the embargo on lending to foreign countries does not apply where the loans have a direct influence in increasing British export trade.


Before reconsidering the question of reopening the market for the flotation of foreign loans, will my right hon. Friend send to the hon. Member the list issued by the Council of Foreign Bondholders which shows that millions of money have been lost by the public on foreign loans issued here to investors, to the profit of flotation houses and to bond houses?