HC Deb 01 March 1938 vol 332 cc902-3
39. Mr. Price

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement on the negotiations with the director-general of the Italian Ministry for foreign trade and exchanges for an extension of facilities for obtaining credits for British exports to Italy?

Mr. R. S. Hudson (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

The negotiations on trade matters which are proceeding with the Italian Government are concerned with the revision of the Clearing and Commercial Agreements of 6th November, 1936. These agreements have now to be revised because the outstanding trade debts have now been practically settled. I hope that the discussions will facilitate a mutual increase of trade, but they raise no question of the extension of credit facilities for United Kingdom exports to Italy.

Mr. Price

Will the right hon. Gentleman, as a result of these transactions, take steps to secure that British exports to Italy will not exceed Italian exports into this country in such a way as to facilitate Italian campaigns and expeditions in Spain and Abyssinia?

Mr. Hudson

I should be very happy indeed if, as a result of the negotiations, our exports to Italy even reached the figure of our imports from that country.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain more fully his statement that—

Mr. Speaker

Not at Question Time.

Mr. Benn

Then can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that neither directly nor indirectly in these negotiations are we extending credit to Italy?

Mr. Hudson

I have already said that the question of credit does not arise at all in these negotiations.