§ Mr. Hurd
May we take it that this limited number of tractors represents samples and that it is hoped that business will result? Will my right hon. Friend assure us that if there are offers of business from China the Government will give every facility for the export of the tractors and agricultural machinery so long as they have no strategic or military importance?
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that he has not given the real reason for the diminution in the export of agricultural machinery? Does he realise that the real reason is the shortage and bad allocation of steel? Will he consult the Minister of Supply with a view to rectifying that situation, particularly in Aberdeen?
§ Mr. Gough
Would not my right hon. Friend agree that many of the engines are precisely the same as those used on tractors and, furthermore, that a large group of our exporters are already exporting marine engines of from 7 h.p. to 4,000 h.p. to both the Soviet Union and satellite countries? What difference is there between them and China?
§ 25 and 26. Mr. Snow
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) which Government Departments have to be consulted by his officials before a licence can be granted for the export of galvanised sheet to China; and what steps are being taken to reduce time from the submission of the application to the granting of the licences; and
(2) how many officials within his Department have to consider or scrutinise each application for a licence for the export of galvanised steel to China.
§ Mr. Low
Galvanised sheets are on the embargo list to China. Applications have to be considered carefully before exceptions are approved and extra information may have to be asked of the applicant. There is consultation with interested Departments in the normal way. Decisions on applications giving complete information take about a week.
§ Mr. Snow
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many cases applications take considerably longer than that, and that certain questions are asked which his Department knows perfectly well exporters cannot answer? Why is the treatment of British shippers so markedly worse than the treatment which other countries allow to their own shippers in the export trade?
§ Mr. Low
I do not accept that our treatment is markedly worse. We have a procedure to go through. I have personally investigated a case about which the hon. Gentleman wrote to me, and I am satisfied that, although there was a mistake in part of that case, the ordinary procedure is working quite well.
§ 27. Mr. Snow
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will take steps to ensure that British companies are not frustrated in competing with Japanese companies by the lengthy consideration of applications for licences to export to China goods on the permitted list or goods which may be the subject of quantitative controls.
§ Mr. Snow
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that British shippers receive parity of treatment as compared with Japanese shippers, and is he aware that at present orders to a total of 15,000 tons of galvanised sheeting are being supplied by Japanese shippers while his Department is holding up the licences for British shippers?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Is it not a complete farce that Japan, Belgium and other countries which desire to be associated with the West should be permitted to export what are regarded as strategic goods to China when our own traders are prevented from doing so?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Why does the right hon. Gentleman seek to cover up the refusal of the Government to relax the present position by talking about procedure? Do the other countries which I have mentioned have regard to procedure, or are we the only one which does?