HC Deb 28 October 1954 vol 531 c2112
7. Mr. Osborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade what assurances he has received from the Government of China as to what goods they have available for export in quantity, and at prices and quality that would compete in free world markets, in exchange for the goods they wish to import from the United Kingdom.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

None, Sir. Nor indeed have I asked for such assurances.

Mr. Osborne

In view of the fact that China sold much more to us last year than we bought from her, and that therefore she has goods available and can sell them at competitive prices, would my right hon. Friend see whether the embargo on what we can export to China cannot be lifted a bit further?

Mr. Thorneycroft

This Question deals with the other side of the trade, with what the Chinese have for sale to us. So far as that is concerned I have not, at a Government level, asked for allocations of goods because we do not conduct our trade in that way. It is done by importers in this country.

Mr. Osborne

In view of the fact that the President confirms that last year China had goods available at qualities and prices which could compete in our markets, and that she was selling more to us last year than we bought from her, surely we could relax somewhat our export embargo in order that we can sell goods back to them instead of sterling?

Mr. Jay

Is the Minister aware that the request to do something to relax this embargo now comes from both sides of the House?