HC Deb 16 April 1957 vol 568 c1727
10. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, having regard to the country's economic problems, he will reconsider Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the Organisation for Trade Co-operation, which is designed to give permanent form in the setting of the United Nations organisation to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Sir D. Eccles

No, Sir.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Having regard to the relative decline of our Commonwealth trade and the need to reconcile a European area of preferential trade with Imperial Preference, would not my right hon. Friend agree that it is madness, and contrary to Conservative principles and promises, to accept a permanent straitjacket on our fiscal freedom, already limited by G. A. T. T.? Has not this become an urgent matter, since President Eisenhower has sent a message to Congress asking for authorisation for the United States to join the O. T. C.? If that happens, is it not the case that the United Kingdom ratification becomes effective?

Sir D. Eccles

I think that my hon. Friend is mistaken. On the whole, I think that membership of G. A. T. T. is in our interests, and certainly the other Commonwealth countries show no signs of wishing to get out of it.