HC Deb 27 January 1949 vol 460 cc1086-8
17. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many tons of tinplate have been sent to U.S.S.R. and Canada, respectively, in 1947 and 1948.

Mr. H. Wilson

Exports of tinplate to the U.S.S.R. were 529 tons in 1947. No shipments are recorded in the Trade and, Navigation Accounts for 1948, though I understand that one is likely to appear in the accounts for January this year. Exports to Canada in the same periods were 74 tons and 142 tons.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Will the Minister ensure that no further shipments of tinplate are made to Russia until all Canadian requirements have been fulfilled?

Mr. Wilson

Part of the limited supplies of tinplate available are normally supplied to those countries with whom we have a contract for food which is to be tinned with the tinplate which is shipped. Therefore, I cannot give that assurance.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that Canada is supreme among those countries?

Mr. Wilson

I well recognise that. Of course, the hon. Gentleman will realise that the limitation on our ability to buy further tinned food from Canada and to send the tinplate for it is placed upon us by our shortage of dollars.

Earl Winterton

Has the right hon. Gentleman had any representations from the Department of Trade and Commerce of Canada requesting that a further amount should be sent to that country?

Mr. Wilson

Practically every country to which we supply tinplate has requested that we should make more available, but it is not there. I can certainly inform the right hon. Gentleman that the tinplate manufacturers in this country are not at all keen on sending tinplate to Canada because of the development of the new tinplate industry in Canada. Nevertheless, we have been able to put sufficient pressure on them to get shipments agreed.

Mr. Douglas Marshall

Will the President take into account, when fixing the target of his export figures, the necessity of keeping sufficient tinplate for the Cornish pilchard industry, which in itself is saving imports and thereby saving hard currency?

Mr. Wilson

Yes, Sir. We always have to take into account that need and the needs of other home industries using tinplate.

Major Legge-Bourke

With regard to the tinplate sent to Russia in 1947, would the right hon. Gentleman say under what agreement that was sent, what we, got in return and why it was not made available for home canners who wanted to can home-produced fruit?

Mr. Wilson

It was sent under a special contract which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food signed with the Russian Government providing for shipments of considerable quantities of tinned salmon and tinned crab which could only be imported if a certain quantity of tinplate were sent.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that salmon from Canada is on a vastly greater scale than that from Russia and also that the hygienic conditions are very much better? Therefore, would it not be very much better for the tinplate to be sent to Canada than to Russia?

Mr. Wilson

The whole question is one of finding means of payment not merely for the tinplate when it is made into a tin, but for the salmon which goes into the tin.

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