HC Deb 14 July 1936 vol 314 cc1863-4
44 and 56. Mr. DODD

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether notice has been given to terminate the trade convention with the Argentine on 7th November next;

(2) whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Argentine cattle-raisers are calling upon their Government to make no new agreement with Great Britain rather than accept taxes which impede Argentine producers; and, in view of the intensive efforts of Japan to capture our markets in Argentina, what steps he proposes to take to prevent the breakdown of our textile and other export trades with Argentina in the event of the projected treaty not being concluded?


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will point out to the Argentine Government the benefit to Argentina of the British savings which created the railways to develop the country in respect of which no return is paid on £200,000,000 capital, and that £10,000,000 a year related to this unproductive railway capital represents a cash subsidy by Britain to the Argentine meat and grain producers, which must be taken into account in connection with the renewal of the Trade Agreement?


Owing to the importance and wide ramifications of the issues involved it has not yet proved possible to complete the discussions with the Argentine Government on the questions arising in connection with the renewal of the Trade Agreement but the facts mentioned by my hon. Friends are being borne in mind. In the hope that agreement in principle may be reached between the two Governments very shortly, steps have been taken to reduce to three months the period of notice for terminating the existing Agreement. The effect of this arrangement is to enable the Agreement to be terminated on 7th November next, even though the notice of termination may be withheld until 7th August.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that not a single bullock or tort of grain could be moved in that country without the facilities that are being afforded and have been afforded by the British taxpayer; and in view of the fact that this question has continued so long in this unsatisfactory condition, cannot the Government do something to wake up the Argentine Government?


We take every suitable opportunity of reminding our friends in Argentina that without the help of the British investor—not the British taxpayer—it would not be possible to develop their country 50 rapidly.


What does the right hon. Gentleman intend to do about it?


asked the President of the Board of Trade the total amounts of British investments in Argentina?


; I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) on 12th May.