HC Deb 11 December 1956 vol 562 cc202-3
16. Mr. Bottomley

asked the President of the Board of Trade what reply he has given to the representations by the New Zealand Government concerning the importation of meat from the Argentine.

Mr. P. Thomeycroft

We drew attention to the fact that New Zealand has now a much bigger share of our total meat imports, both by quantity and value, than before the war; and we said that we have no reason to expect any substantial change in the level of meat imports in the near future.

Mr. Bottomley

Is not the New Zealand Government disturbed because more and more imports are coming in? The President of the Board of Trade will recollect that the Australian Government made the same representations, with the ultimate bad results to our country which resulted in the new Agreement? The New Zealand Government will be taking similar steps. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman stop that now?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I am not sure what the right hon. Member has in mind, but the New Zealand share of the market, both in quantity and value, is larger than it was before the war. The Australian problem was quite a different one. It was based, not on meat, but on wheat, and the share of the market had declined, not increased.

Mr. Bottomley

If there is an improvement in trade with both those countries, that is due to bulk purchase and longterm trade agreements under the Labour Government. May I ask the President whether he does not expect the New Zealand Government to be as awkward in the future as the Australian Government have been in the past, because of lack of action on the part of Her Majesty's Government?

Mr. Thomeycroft

I would not accept that either of these two very friendly Commonwealth Governments have been in the least bit awkward in any way.

Mr. Russell

Is there any reason why we should not take as much as New Zealand is able to let us have up to the limit of our consumption?

Mr. Thorneycroft

As I said, we are taking very much more than we did before.