HC Deb 25 June 1953 vol 516 cc2069-71
3. Mr. Grimond

asked the President of the Board of Trade what discrimination other than tariffs is enforced against the entry of British goods into the United States market.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I am not aware of any discrimination against the entry of British goods as such into the United States market.

Mr. Grimond

Is it not the case that there are certain impediments other than tariffs that are levied on foreign goods, and is it not also a fact that in some cases not only are tariffs high, but other imposts are added; and are these not matters which could be usefully discussed at Bermuda? Would the President of the Board of Trade not agree that it is a remarkable tribute to British industry that, in spite of tariffs and other difficulties, British industries, which are often criticised, manage to sell large quantities of goods to the United States?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The Question asked "what discrimination other than tariffs?" I am not aware of any discrimination as between British and other goods, and I think it right to make that plain. There are many impediments to British goods as to goods from all other nations, many more than merely tariffs, and we are constantly calling the attention of the United States Administration to that state of affairs.

Mr. Beresford Craddock

Is it not a fact that Congress is not tied by the restrictive clauses of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in the same way as we are, and would my right hon. Friend consider now making representations with regard to restoring freedom to the British Government in this matter?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Perhaps my hon. Friend will put down a specific question on the point which he has in mind.

Mr. Rhodes

Is the President of the Board of Trade not aware that there is discrimination in that British goods, particularly woollen textiles, are marked up in price in the retail shops in America?

Mr. Thorneycroft

If the hon. Gentleman will draw my attention to a specific discrimination against British goods as opposed, say, to French or any other goods, I shall be very pleased to look at it.

5. Dr. Broughton

asked the President of the Board of Trade to state, in terms of quantity and dollar value, the amount of woollen cloth exported from the United Kingdom to the United States of America in each of the years 1950, 1951 and 1952.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

United Kingdom exports of woollen cloth to the United States were 8.7 million square yards in 1950, 7.9 million in 1951, and 14.3 million in 1952. The values of these exports in United States dollars were 12.8 million, 15.7 million, and 23.2 million, respectively. The wool industry also did a valuable export trade in worsted cloth with the United States in those years.

Sir H. Williams

On a point of order. As this information is always published in the Trade and Navigation Returns, why was the Question allowed upon the Order Paper?

Mr. Speaker

The information is not published in dollars.

Dr. Broughton

While these dollars are of considerable value, does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the amount would have been greater but for the formidable barrier of American tariffs? Have Her Majesty's Government informed the United States Government that we wish to be allowed the opportunity of exporting more cloth to the U.S.A. and that we earnestly wish to bridge the dollar gap?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Her Majesty's Government have left the United States Administration in no doubt whatever about their desire to expand our exports to dollar areas.