HC Deb 19 November 1953 vol 520 cc1883-5
15. Mr. Wade

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress he has to report upon the reduction in tariffs and other impediments to international trade as between Great Britain and other members of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation and other European nations.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The reduction of tariffs has, of course, been pursued under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and on that I would refer the hon. Member to the statement after Questions which I made on 27th October about the Eighth Session of the Contracting Parties.

As regards quota restrictions, over 70 per cent. of the trade on private account between the member countries of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation is now free from such restrictions.

Mr. Wade

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that no unilateral action will be taken by Her Majesty's Government which might lead other European nations to increase, rather than decrease, their restrictions on international trade?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Nothing which Her Majesty's Government is doing could in any way justify other countries in increasing their restrictions.

25. Sir W. Smithers

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the official statement, details of which have been sent to him, agreed between the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of Canada at the President's recent state visit, what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to removing barriers to trade as quickly as possible.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Her Majesty's Government are in agreement with the joint Canadian-United States communiqué on the importance to the free world of healthy national economies and of the expansion of world trade.

Sir W. Smithers

As Great Britain is the one country in the world which cannot become self-supporting, would not my right hon. Friend agree that the only hope for a permanent recovery is to remove all trade barriers so that we can buy in the cheapest markets and sell in the dearest? Has my right hon. Friend seen the speech of Sir Roger Makins, as reported in "The Times" today?