HC Deb 15 December 1949 vol 470 cc2901-2
25. Mr. Vernon Bartlett

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the long delay in passing British samples through the Customs in New York; and whether he will consult with the Foreign Secretary with a view to increasing the staff of the Commercial Department of the British Consulate-General in that city in order that it may be able to give all necessary assistance in this matter.

Mr. H. Wilson

No, Sir. I am satisfied from the recent tripartite discussions in Washington on customs procedures that the United States authorities are well aware of the importance of facilitating clearance of samples and goods through the Customs and are doing what they can to ensure this, but travellers should make certain that they have ready all particulars necessary for Customs clearance. I do not think it is necessary or desirable to consider an increase in our commercial diplomatic representation on. this ground, particularly in view of the friendly and co-operative relations which already exist with the Customs authorities in the United States.

Mr. Bartlett

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there have been cases of British business men arriving in New York, having taken care in advance to get the necessary assurances from the Consulate-General, who have found that their samples cannot be released until they have found an importer on the spot, or that the promise to prepare a list of potential buyers has not been carried out? Does not that mean that there is an unnecessary waste of dollars?

Mr. Wilson

I hope that as a result of the discussions to which I have referred, these difficulties will be far fewer in the future than they have been in the past, but if any come to the notice of my hon. Friend in future I hope that he will let me have the particulars.