HC Deb 11 May 1939 vol 347 cc686-7
Mr. A. Henderson

(by Private Notice) asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can now make a statement on the recent trade negotiations with the Rumanian Government?

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Oliver Stanley)

The discussions which have been taking place between the Royal Rumanian Government and the British Commercial Mission have been successfully concluded, and a Protocol has been signed to-day by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for National Economy on behalf of the Royal Rumanian Government and by His Britannic Majesty's Minister at Bucharest and Sir F. Leith-Ross on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom. The Protocol provides for a number of measures to be taken for the promotion of trade between the two countries, primarily through the normal commercial channel. It envisages the formation of a Trading Organisation to promote Anglo-Rumanian trade. It outlines various amendments in the present Payments Agreement for the same purpose. It also provides for guarantee facilities to the amount of £5,000,000 to be made available to the Royal Rumanian Government for the purchase of United Kingdom goods. His Majesty's Government will purchase for Government stocks 200,000 tons of Rumanian wheat from the next harvest, if available at world prices. The text will be published in both countries tomorrow. The formal instruments necessary to give effect to these arrangements will be drawn up in London and a Rumanian delegation will leave for London as soon as possible.

Mr. Henderson

Will the £5,000,000 credit enable the Rumanian Government to exercise their discretion as to the kind of goods they purchase; and will that include the right to purchase armaments?

Mr. Stanley indicated assent.

Mr. Radford

Will arrangements be made for British shipping to carry the wheat and other goods from Rumania?

Mr. Stanley

The wheat will be purchased on British Government account, and therefore the arrangements with regard to shipping will remain in the hands of the British Government.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Will the credit to Rumania be a Treasury credit, or under the Export Credits Act?

Mr. Stanley

It will be under the export credits guarantee.

Mr. Bellenger

What will be the nature of the Trading Organisation that will carry out certain operations? Will it be under Government control, or will it be a private institution?

Mr. Stanley

The actual details are not yet fixed, but certainly it will be closely linked with the Government.

Mr. Petherick

Will the agreement be published as usual in the form of a White Paper?

Mr. Stanley

The Protocol will be published to-morrow as a Command Paper, and will be in the hands of hon. Members by to-morrow night.

Mr. Riley

Will negotiations be entered into with the Bulgarian Government also?

Mr. Stanley

That is rather a different question.