HC Deb 18 November 1941 vol 376 cc158-9
17. Mr. Hamilton Kerr

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give an assurance that the Export Council remains actively in being; and that research into present and potential interests is being maintained?

Sir A. Duncan

Yes, Sir. The Industrial and Export Council continue to meet regularly, and the business members of the Council, who give their full-time services to the Board of Trade, are actively engaged, in close collaboration with the export groups, in watching the interests of our export trade.

Mr. Hamilton Kerr

Is my right hon. Friend aware that considerable anxiety exists in the country about our future export trade, and will he enter into friendly conversations with the United States, pointing out that any repayment of lease-lend, if proposed, would inevitably involve an expansion of export trade after the war?

Sir A. Duncan

Yes, Sir. I am well aware of the anxiety in many people's minds as to our position in post-war trade, but as I have pointed out on earlier occasions, our paramount duty at the moment is to concentrate on winning the war. No opportunity is being neglected for having those discussions with the United States authorities to which the hon. Member refers.