HC Deb 01 May 1952 vol 499 cc1656-7
39. Mr. Ronald Russell

asked the President of the Board of Trade what reply he has received to the memorandum sent by him to the United States Government in regard to possible increases in American import duties on British-manufactured goods; and what action he proposes to take under Article XIX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

No reply has yet been received, but my hon. Friend will no doubt have heard of the favourable comments made by Mr. Acheson yesterday. As I explained on 24th April in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), the applications referred to in the memorandum are still being investigated by the United States Tariff Commission who have not yet made any recommendations on any of them; accordingly, the question of action under Article XIX of the General Agreement does not at present arise.

Mr. Russell

Is it not a fact that whenever American industry finds itself faced with fierce competition it demands protection, and is it not, therefore, unwise to rely on any permanent increase in our exports to the United States?

Mr. Thorneycroft

That raises rather a wider point than the one in the Question.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the United States Government have imposed quotas against some European imports the quantity of which was increasing and that that largely neutralises their very generous policy of civil aid to Europe? Will the right hon. Gentleman continue to represent to the American representative in London the grave dangers of a return to the Smoot-Hawley policy of pre-war days?

Mr. Thorneycroft

That was, of course, the object of the memorandum which was made available to the United States Government.