HC Deb 29 July 1952 vol 504 cc1258-9
36. Mr. F. Maclean

asked the President of the Board of Trade to make a statement regarding the proposed trade agreement with Czechoslovakia.

41. Mr. Bottomley

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will now make a statement about the recent AngloCzechoslovakian trade talks.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The negotiations, to which I referred in answer to the Private Notice Question by the hon. Member for Ardwick (Mr. L. M. Lever) on 17th July have not yet been concluded. But I shall bear in mind the desirability of making a statement as soon as possible after their conclusion.

Mr. Maclean

Will my right hon. Friend give an undertaking that all steps are being taken to safeguard the interests of the Lancashire textile industry under the terms of the agreement, and will he also bear in mind that by trading with Czechoslovakia he is strengthening the hold of that country's Communist Government on its unfortunate people?

Mr. Lever

In regard to the negotiations, will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Cotton Board, the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the cotton industry trade unions and take due account of what those bodies have to contribute? Will he give an undertaking that an agreement which includes the importation of printed cotton will not be concluded during the Recess when we shall have no opportunity to discuss it?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The hon. Gentleman had better wait until the discussions are concluded, when I shall be able to inform him.

Mr. Lever

Will the agreement be concluded during the Recess?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Clearly it will take two sides to make the agreement. As far as I am concerned, the sooner it is concluded the better.

Mr. Lever

The right hon. Gentleman has promised us an opportunity of discussing the agreement. Will he give us an opportunity of discussing it before it is signed?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I have already answered that question.