HC Deb 15 December 1949 vol 470 cc2898-9
23. Mr. Driberg

asked the President of the Board of Trade how soon he anticipates that it will be possible to export to Argentina goods listed under Category 3 of the Agreement with the Argentine Government, including metal-frame windows; and if, in view of the importance of such exports and the considerable market now available in Argentina, he will urge the Argentine Government to allow their import, duty free, as soon as possible.

Mr. H. Wilson

As my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) was informed on 1st December, the question of the issue by the Argentine Government of import permits for the goods listed in Schedule 3 to the Anglo-Argentine Trade and Payments Agreement (including metal frame windows) is one of the many issues which are now being discussed in Buenos Aires. I cannot say when we shall reach a satisfactory agreement. The question of import duty is a separate issue which I do not think could usefully be pursued while the larger questions are still not settled

Mr. Driberg

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a big potential market for these windows at this moment, owing to various housing developments, and so on, which may not be open later on, and would he therefore consider pressing the Argentine Government to expedite the matter?

Mr. Wilson

I am very well aware of the very large market available in the Argentine for a wide range of our goods, not only metal windows, and certainly there has been no failure on our part to press the Argentine Government in every way available to us to carry out the obligations they entered into under a previous agreement.

Mr. Stokes

May I ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will again make it clear in any statement he sends to the Press, that it is the obstruction of the Argentine Government which is preventing the shipment of goods and not the unwillingness of His Majesty's Government or the manufacturers in this country?

Mr. Wilson

I should have thought that most of the manufacturers in this country are pretty well aware of the situation on these import restrictions—

Mr Stokes

Yes, but the users of them.

Mr. Wilson

—and I do not think it would be helpful, particularly with negotiations continuing, to add statements of that kind to their difficulties.

Mr. Stokes

Well, I do.