HC Deb 01 December 1942 vol 385 cc999-1000
74. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Secretary to the Department of Overseas Trade whether he is now in a position to make a statement regarding the preparations that his Department is making for the resumption of overseas trade at the cessation of hostilities?

Mr. Harcourt Johnstone (Secretary, Department of Overseas Trade)

As I indicated in my reply to a Supplementary Question put by my hon. Friend on 25th November, the problem of our post-war export trade is under active examination by a committee of business men and officials. That committee looks to the Department of Overseas Trade and its overseas services for much of the information which is necessary to enable the committee to formulate its recommendations to His Majesty's Government, on the preparations necessary for the resumption of export trade at the end of hostilities.

Mr. De la Bère

Is the Minister aware of the close contact between the Department of Overseas Trade and the United Kingdom Trading Corporation, and can he make some statement at an early date regarding plans and intentions, as a number of people in the country are very exercised about the activities of the United Kingdom Trading Corporation?

Mr. Johnstone

Perhaps the hon. Member will put that question down.

Sir Herbert Williams

As the main function of the hon. Gentleman's Department is to refuse licences for British exports, will he not consider making an alteration in the title of the Department?

Mr. Johnstone

That is the function of the Board of Trade.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Is the Department taking into account the needs of the Lancashire cotton export trade?

Mr. Johnstone

Yes, Sir, we have had elaborate discussions with the Lancashire cotton trade on the subject.

Mr. Astor

Does not the Corporation invariably work through trade channels, and try to keep existing policies in operation?

Mr. Johnstone

That is the policy of the Corporation.