HC Deb 24 February 1953 vol 511 cc1900-1
34. Mr. Jay

asked the President of the Board of Trade what requests the members of the French Government, who took part in the recent talks in London with Her Majesty's Government, made for this country to relax restrictions on imports from France; and what answer Her Majesty's Government has given.

Mr. Mackeson

The French Ministers asked Her Majesty's Government to consider the possibility of relaxing import restrictions in any way which would enable France to export more goods to the United Kingdom. As stated in the communiqué issued at the end of the discussions, we undertook to give sympathetic consideration to the position of France when considering our future import arrangements.

Mr. Jay

Can the Minister say how soon any decision is likely to be reached?

Mr. Mackeson

I could not say.

Mr. Edelman

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that it will help our trade with the sterling area as a whole if we allow the traditional pattern of trade with France to be resumed and permit the French to earn more sterling?

Mr. Mackeson

We are looking into this matter very carefully.

Captain Duncan

Whilst welcoming the extension of our trade with France, may I ask my hon. Friend also to bear in mind the paramount needs of the horticultural industry in this country?