HC Deb 07 February 1956 vol 548 cc1486-7
17. Mr. Parkin

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the steel girder in the new railway bridge over the river near Hankow is marked"Dorman Long, Middlesbrough, England," and was exported without his licence; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Low

I do not know whether there is such a girder in a bridge near Hankow. Certainly Dorman Long have exported no steel girders to China since June, 1951.

Mr. Parkin

Whilst regretting that the Minister does not seem to know any more than I do about how the girder got there, realising that I have the advantage over him in having seen it, will he not agree that it is about time our trade with China was now conducted by legitimate methods through the normal channels?

Mr. Low

There is no evidence before me that there has been anything unlawful about this girder getting to Hankow, if it has got there, as the hon. Member informs me.

Mr. Bottomley rose


Hon. Members


Mr. Bottomley

This question of trade with China is vital to British industry, as I should have thought hon. Members opposite would have realised Can we anticipate a statement by the Prime Minister about the future of trade with China?

Mr. Nabarro

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. What recourse have hon. Members to protect themselves against the monopoly now exercised by Privy Councillors on the benches opposite?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order. It is a matter of general understanding in the House and generally works all right.

23. Mr. Allaun

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will ensure that all facilities are given for exporting textile machinery to China.

Mr. Low

Yes, Sir; for all normal types of textile machinery we already do so.

Mr. Allaun

Will the Minister give an assurance that no difficulties will be created by a ban on electrical equipment which forms part of the textile machinery, particularly in view of the serious redundancy in the textile machinery manufacturing industry?

Mr. Low

Without agreeing with the last part of that supplementary question, it is a fact that the power units in the machinery are a separate matter and were not covered in my Answer; but where the value of the power units has been small in relation to the value of the machinery, I think no difficulty has been experienced.