HC Deb 12 May 1953 vol 515 cc1027-9
1. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps are being taken to ensure the resumption of our export trade to Brazil, bearing in mind the recent United States commercial loan to Brazil.

6. Sir H. Sutclifte

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the anxiety of many textile and other firms about the delay in reaching a settlement with regard to a new basis for Anglo-Brazilian trade; and when he anticipates that he will be in a position to announce some definite progress in this matter.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Peter Thorneycroft)

I would refer my hon. Friends to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Walton (Mr. K. Thompson) on 30th April. The discussions in Rio de Janeiro will cover future trade between the two countries as well as the question of commercial arrears.

Air Commodore Harvey

Can my right hon. Friend say when he expects these discussions to be concluded, and will he take into account in the meantime that the United States and Germany are capturing a large proportion of the trade of Brazil, a friendly nation which wants to trade with Britain?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I cannot say when the discussions will be concluded. They are starting very shortly.

Sir H. Sutcliffe

Will my right hon. Friend keep in mind the importance of having as one of our representatives a practical businessman who has had dealings with Brazil, as that may be vital to success?

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Could the President of the Board of Trade say whether the discussions will cover the possibility of making the same financial arrangements with the Brazilian Government as the ones which America and Germany have made so that the speed with which cruzeiros can be converted into sterling may be expedited?

Mr. Thorneycroft

All possibilities will be borne in mind, but I hope that the House will not press me, before the discussions begin, to outline any proposals that might be made.

2. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the British motor industry is losing the Brazilian market for cars and lorries, which cannot now be shipped to that country, and that British vehicles already in Brazil cannot be kept on the road as spare parts are not available, and cannot be shipped owing to the shortage of sterling in that country; and if he will make arrangements with Brazil to alleviate this temporary shortage of sterling, as has been done by the United States of America and Germany in respect of their currencies.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I am very much aware of the difficulties which face all exporters to Brazil, including exporters of cars and lorries. I regret that, although the Export Credits Guarantee Department are prepared to give cover for the export of spare parts, the Brazilian Government are not issuing the necessary import licences. On the general question of arrangements with Brazil, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply which I have just given to him and to my hon. Friend the Member for Heywood and Royton (Sir H. Sutcliffe).

Air Commodore Harvey

Pending the results of future negotiations, and in order to keep these vehicles serviceable, would it not be appropriate to offer barter trading by accepting bananas and other goods produced in Brazil for spare parts for these vehicles?

Mr. Thorneycroft

On the question of barter trade, I would inform the House that the Brazilian free exchange law forbids the Bank of Brazil to issue licences in connection with barter deals, and so far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned I do not think that barter deals provide a way out of our basic difficulties.

Sir W. Smithers

Is not the real answer to these three Questions to make the £ freely convertible?