HC Deb 25 April 1939 vol 346 cc949-50
23. Mr. Hepworth

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the growing system of barter between Germany and the South American Republics, whereby great damage is being done to British trade; whether he will consider the recommending to traders the possibility of some form of exchange clearing with some South American countries; and whether his advisers have studied the necessity for concluding bulk export arrangements where possible and, if so, with what result?

Mr. Cross

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, circumstances vary in each individual country, and I am doubtful whether clearing and other similar arrangements provide an appropriate remedy in many cases; but my right hon. Friend is always prepared to consider the views of the trading community on this matter. As regards the third part of the question, I assume that my hon. Friend has in mind the possibilities of extended co-operation between exporters, for example, through the formation of large-scale selling organisations. As my right hon. Friend has said before, he thinks that exporting interests in this country might with advantage give their close attention to these possibilities.

Mr. T. Williams

Has the hon. Gentleman considered the advisability of commending import boards and export boards to His Majesty's Government, and does not he think that that would be the only possible means of meeting competition from abroad?

Mr. Cross

There are certain cases in which the balance of trade would certainly not make that possible.

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