HC Deb 26 July 1951 vol 491 cc613-4
2. Mr. William Teeling

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the draft treaty agreed between this country and Cuba concerning the importation of cigars into Great Britain.

Sir H. Shawcross

The negotiations have not yet reached a conclusion. The next step rests with the Government of Cuba, who have before them a draft sent to their representative on 4th July.

Mr. Teeling

First, does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise the immense amount of damage this delay is causing in the trade, not only for the Cuban cigar people, but also for the Jamaican cigar people and the great uncertainty as to whether they can buy or sell, or what they can do? Further, if the matter is decided during the Recess, can the right hon. and learned Gentleman ensure that the association which deals with Havana cigars, and dealt with them in the past, will be allowed to deal with them in a future allocation of licences, because that will probably enable machine-made cigars to be stopped from coming into the country in favour of handmade cigars, which is what the Jamaicans wanted?

Sir H. Shawcross

I should like to see the hon. Member's second supplementary question before answering it and, when I have read it in the OFFICIAL REPORT, I will write to the hon. Member. In regard to the first, I appreciate that it is desirable to get the question settled. I had hoped that it would be settled in time to announce it to the House before the Recess. It is not any fault of the Board of Trade that this has not been done.