HC Deb 11 July 1957 vol 573 cc530-1
29. Mr. Russell

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the plan officially announced by the Prime Minister of Canada to divert 15 per cent. of Canada's imports from the United States of America to imports from Great Britain; what steps he proposes to take to encourage British exporters to take advantage of this plan; and if, in return, he will encourage the purchase of more wheat from Canada in order to help to dispose of her wheat surplus.

Sir D. Eccles

We all welcome the statement of the Prime Minister of Canada that his Government aim to divert 15 per cent. of Canadian imports from the United States of America to this country. We shall study urgently any proposals the Canadian Government may care to send us. In the meantime, the prospects from this end are being examined. We have good hopes that British industry can supply what Canada wants.

Mr. Russell

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he agrees that we ought also to give encouragement to Canada by buying more from her? Could we not buy more wheat from Canada and less from the United States, in view of the fact that we bought £22 million worth from Canada in the first five months of this year and £40 million worth from the United States?

Sir D. Eccles

We buy our wheat on open general licence and there is, therefore, nothing to stop Canada selling us more than she is selling us now. In order to divert purchases of wheat we should have to adopt methods which my hon. Friend might think objectionable.

Mr. de Freitas

Dealing with exports to Canada, will the right hon. Gentleman look seriously to see whether the quality and the quantity of the staffs of our trade commissioners in Canada are good enough to give our exporters the help which they need?

Sir D. Eccles

I have been looking at that and I have been much encouraged by the testimony from British industry to the quality of those staffs. I agree with the hon. Member that we must continually keep it under review.

Back to