§ 73. Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether it is his intention to give immediate notice of the termination of all those trade agreements which can be terminated by the end of this year by giving six months' notice?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I presume that my hon. and gallant Friend refers to the agreements which affect the import facilities accorded in the United Kingdom to certain foreign agricultural and fishery products. His Majesty's Government propose to open negotiations with the countries concerned with a view to modifying these agreements. The primary object in these negotiations will be to render possible certain changes in our agricultural policy at the earliest practicable date. We intend to proceed with the negotiations as rapidly as possible as soon as the necessary preparatory work can be completed. In the meantime denunciation of the existing agreements would be premature and unnecessary.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND - TROYTE
Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that unless some definite date such as 1st January is fixed when all these agreements can come to an end by giving notice now, the Government will be unable to fix on any date on which the agricultural policy will come into force over the whole range of agriculture?
§ Mr. LAWSON
Would any of these modifications in the agricultural policy be likely to have an adverse effect upon the coal trade?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I hope not. I hope that all the facilities which are enjoyed by the coal trade abroad may be increased. With regard to the question of my hon. and gallant Friend as to the date, we see no difficulty such as he suggests.
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
Is it not possible to give British agriculture the same protection without any of these agreements and boards?
§ Sir JOHN HASLAM
Will the right hon. Gentleman, in looking through these trade agreements, take care that where the textile industries have improved because of such agreements in several cases, the textile trade does not suffer under the new arrangments?