HC Deb 17 April 1956 vol 551 cc830-1
17. Mr. Bottomley

asked the President of the Board of Trade how far the agreement to abolish artificial aids to exports has now been carried out by member countries of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.

Mr. Low

The reports submitted by those countries to which the Organisation's agreement applied are being studied within the Organisation and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to await the completion of these studies. Of the other member countries, Greece and Turkey are exempt from the agreement. In the case of France, it was agreed that a date should be fixed after which she would be bound by the Organisation's agreement to discontinue these artificial aids to exporters. It has not yet been possible to agree a date. Meanwhile, Her Majesty's Government will continue to impress upon the French Government their concern that all her artificial aids to exporters should cease.

Mr. Bottomley

As the negotiations have been going on so long, can the right hon. Gentleman say that Her Majesty's Government are not responsible for the delay? If that is the case, ought not more energetic action to be taken to stop these hidden export subsidies?

Mr. Low

Her Majesty's Government have made representations energetically and, as the House will be aware, have had some success in that at the end of last year the German Government discontinued their artificial aids.