HC Deb 03 November 1955 vol 545 c1183
6. Mr. Shepherd

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that a Minister of Eire has extended an invitation to German textile manufacturers to establish mills in Southern Ireland so that they may take advantage of duty free entry into the United Kingdom; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent the undermining of our home market in this manner.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave on 27th October to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Poole (Captain Pilkington).

Mr. Shepherd

Is not that answer unsatisfactory in that it does not make clear to the Southern Irish Government that they are not entitled to take advantage of the generosity which we show towards them in our trading policy? Is it not time that we showed a little more firmness with these fellow-travellers in the Commonwealth?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Any member of the Commonwealth is entitled to seek foreign investment, and it is clear that we seek far more foreign investment than do the Government of Southern Ireland. When businesses are established in the preferential areas, they clearly get the advantage of Imperial Preference.