HC Deb 14 May 1953 vol 515 cc1403-4
35. Mr. Russell

asked the President of the Board of Trade when a trade mission is to be invited to visit this country from Cuba, as recommended in the recently-published report of the United Kingdom Trade Mission to the Caribbean.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

On a point of information, Mr. Speaker, may I ask whether, in view of the great importance of the defence programme, we could have an answer to Question No. 34 about the purchase of javelins by the Kent Education Committee?

Mr. Speaker

That Question has not been asked.

The Secretary for Overseas Trade (Mr. H. R. Mackeson)

The Cuban Government have already been informed that Her Majesty's Government would welcome a trade mission from Cuba. I am glad to say that this invitation has been accepted and that an important and representative trade mission will shortly arrive in this country. Arrangements are being made to introduce the mission to interested industries in this country, and I hope that their visit, which we owe to the initiative of Brigadier Crosland and his colleagues, will result in substantial export business.

Mr. Russell

Will my hon. Friend ensure that in any negotiations he has with Cuba, the interests of Jamaica and other parts of the West Indies will be fully safeguarded? Secondly, will he try and persuade the Cubans to take more of our exports in return for the increased imports of sugar that we are taking from them?

Mr. Mackeson

The answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary is certainly "Yes." So far as the second part of his supplementary question is concerned, that is the object of this visit. We import about £26 million worth of goods from Cuba and sell them only £5 million worth. We are most anxious to sell them more.

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