HC Deb 25 June 1953 vol 516 cc2077-8
12. Dr. Broughton

asked the President of the Board of Trade what further steps are to be taken, as a result of conversations held recently with Prime Ministers of nations of the British Commonwealth, to develop bi-lateral trade between the United Kingdom and Australia.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I do not think I can do better than refer the hon. Member to what was said about trade restrictions in the communiqué issued after the Prime Ministers' meeting, which was published in the OFFICIAL REPORT on 10th June.

Dr. Broughton

As Australia is rich in certain raw materials, of which wool is an example, and as we wish to increase the volume of our exports of manufactured goods such as woollen cloth, is not this a matter which the Government should keep constantly in mind? Could we have an assurance from the President of the Board of Trade that the Government will do all they can to encourage the development of trade between the two countries?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we shall do all we can to encourage trade in the sterling area. Of course, trade is not conducted with Australia on a bi-lateral basis, and I certainly hope it never will be.

Mr. J. T. Price

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any indication to the House of the progress, if any, that has been made in the freeing of the frustrated textile exports to Australia, dating back to the depression of last year?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The hon. Member will appreciate that some easement was made by Australia in the import quota position, but beyond that I do not think I can say more except refer the hon. Gentleman to the communiqué which was issued after the last Prime Minister's Conference.