HC Deb 31 July 1956 vol 557 c1130
18. Mr. Holt

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the setting up of the two Organisation for European Economic Co-operation study groups on European trade and tariffs, whether he will set up within his Department complementary study groups to prepare definite proposals for submission to the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation so that Her Majesty's Government may give a lead in the move towards a reduction of tariffs in Europe.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

All necessary work has been, and will continue to be, undertaken within my Department to enable Her Majesty's Government to participate fully in this branch of activity of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.

Mr. Holt

May I ask the President if he can give the House an assurance that positive proposals are being prepared by the Government, and that their policy is not to go to the next meeting with no positive proposals and, as they did at the last one, merely to negative proposals put up by other nations?

Mr. Thorneycroft

All proposals by Her Majesty's Government are positive in character. As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has pointed out, no party is going into this meeting with commitments; this is an inquiry which is to take place. But I am quite certain that we shall make a useful contribution to the discussion.

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