HC Deb 27 November 1950 vol 481 cc773-4
38. Mr. Watkinson

asked the Minister of Transport if he will take all possible action to stop flag discrimination against British shipping.

Mr. Barnes

His Majesty's Government are opposed to discriminatory practices by Governments in the field of shipping, and it is their policy to maintain and promote, by international agreement and by other means, the principles of the free interchange of shipping services in world commerce without discrimination as to flag.

Mr. Watkinson

Would the Minister go a little further, and perhaps point out to his colleagues that in all our trade negotiations this must be borne in mind as one of our most invaluable invisible exports, which should be protected by every possible means?

Mr. Barnes

Certainly Sir. I think that other Departments are very well aware of that. The hon. Member is also possibly aware that we have taken the initiative and established the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation, which will provide a platform for the discussion of problems of this character.

Captain Ryder

Will the Minister indicate to what extent this flag discrimination is being practised by other countries?

Mr. Barnes

I am afraid that that matter cannot be dealt with by question and answer, but after a war there is usually an outbreak of nationalism.