HC Deb 13 March 1952 vol 497 cc1549-50
20. Mr. R. Brooman-White

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can now give any further information on the trade agreement with Germany; and, in particular, what increase in imports of steel scrap may be expected in comparison to last year.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Yes, Sir. The new agreement with Germany, which was signed on 4th March, has effect for the 12 months up to 31st December next. The agreement relates for the most part to the provision of quotas for goods which are subject to import restrictions in either country. In view of the reversal since last year in the balance of trade and payments between Germany and the sterling area, the quotas for United Kingdom and colonial exports to Germany are increased, and the quotas for our own imports from Germany are reduced, in relation to the levels provided for in 1951.

The question of supplies of steel scrap was not discussed in the negotiations. German exports of steel scrap to this country are covered by a separate agreement, concluded last September between the German Federal Chancellor and the United States and United Kingdom High Commissioners in Germany, under which a percentage of Germany's exportable surplus is guaranteed to the United States and the United Kingdom until next June.

Mr. Brooman-White

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the steel industry in Scotland is suffering grievously as a result of the inadequate provisions in regard to steel scrap made in the negotiations by his predecessor, and is there any hope that the situation may be improved?

Mr. F. J. Bellenger

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the details of this trade agreement are published in any official publication which is available to hon. Members of this House?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I do not think there is any secret about supplies of scrap. Does the right hon. Gentleman mean the agreement or the scrap?

Mr. Bellenger

The agreement.

Mr. Thorneycroft

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will put that Question down.