HC Deb 21 November 1939 vol 353 cc997-9
14. Mr. Isaacs

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, before any arrangements are made in connection with the Import of Goods Prohibition Orders Nos. 6, 7 and 8 for the limitation of shipments of apples from Canada to the United Kingdom, he will discuss the most appropriate measures with the National Federation of Fruit and Potato Trades, Limited, which is vitally interested?

Mr. Stanley

An open general licence has been issued authorising the importation of apples from Empire countries, including Canada, without the need of obtaining specific licences from the Board of Trade. As has been announced, it has been arranged with the Canadian Government that they will impose a limitation on exports. I understand it is probable that the arrangements will allow of the shipment of most, if not all, of the apples contracted for or paid for before 15th November for the current season.

Mr. Isaacs

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an answer to the suggestion that he should discuss appropriate measures with the trading interests concerned?

Mr. Stanley

There is no limitation on imports from Canada imposed by order in this country, but the Canadians have agreed themselves to regulate the exports from Canada.

15. Mr. Higgs

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that in the apple and pear industry it is the essential practice for importers to make arrangements and commitments well in advance; and whether he can give an undertaking that no restriction will be put into force without previous consultation with the trade and or without due consideration being given to these factors?

Mr. Stanley

Yes, Sir. As regards the second part of the question, my hon. Friend will understand that consultation in advance of restrictions made necessary by urgent national needs may not always be possible; but I can assure him that consideration was given to the special circumstances of the fruit trade before the order imposing restrictions on apples and pears was issued, and that as long notice as was considered possible in the circumstances was .given.

Mr. Higgs

Does my right hon. Friend intend to institute consultations with the trade in future?

Mr. Stanley

It is not always possible, when considering the question of imposing restrictions, just as when it is a question of imposing taxation, to take the trade concerned fully into one's confidence, because to do so would be to run the risk of a very considerable amount of forestalling. I am prepared to have close contact with the trade, but I cannot give any pledge which would make it necessary for me to consult it.

Mr. George Griffiths

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that with Christ- mas coming, these apples will be required without restriction?