HC Deb 03 May 1938 vol 335 c675
8. Mr. David Adams

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is considering any trade agreements in the near future which will have bearing upon the exports of the British heavy industries?

Captain Wallace

As the House will be aware, negotiations for trade agreements are proceeding with the United States of America and with Switzerland. Lists of the products on which the United States Government are prepared to consider the possible granting of tariff concessions were printed as supplements to the Board of Trade Journal on 20th January and 10th February, 1938. As regards Switzerland I am unable, while the negotiations are in progress, to indicate what benefits are likely to accrue to our exports. The recent agreement with Eire enables the heavy industries, like all others, to apply to the Prices Commission for a review of import duties in Eire. Negotiations with Australia will be opened shortly, but I cannot say what industries are likely to be affected.

Mr. Adams

In view of the somewhat extensive decline in engineering and shipbuilding on the North-East Coast, does not the Parliamentary Secretary consider that it would be desirable to deal perhaps in a more generous way with Russian exporters and importers?

Captain Wallace

That is a rather different question. If the hon. Member will put it down, I will give him an answer.