HC Deb 12 June 1958 vol 589 cc403-4
38. Mr. Wade

asked the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has made to the Government of Canada on the subject of import duties on British wool textiles, having regard to the serious effect which any increase in such duties would have upon trade between Britain and Canada.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

As soon as the report of the Canadian Tariff Board on wool textiles was available, my right hon. Friend sent a message to the Canadian Government expressing our serious concern that no harm should be done to this very important British export to Canada.

Mr. Wade

Although the proposed increases have not yet been put into effect, does the Minister agree that they are directly aimed at British wool textiles, and that they will have a very serious effect not only on the British wool textile industry but also on the flow of trade between Canada and this country, which should be encouraged?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

We have drawn these points to the attention of the Canadian Government. Their policy has not been announced, and I hope that due heed will be given to the very strong representations that have been made.

Mr. Hirst

Will my hon. Friend draw particular attention to the unfair discrimination involved in the proposals? Compared with 1954, when the last inquiry took place, can he confirm that the British trade portion of the imports has fallen slightly from 39 per cent. to 37 per cent., while the trade of its competitors—mostly from Italy—has increased five times? Is not it a fact, therefore, that the proposals indicate a clear discrimination which is not in accord with the declared aims of the Canadian Government?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

We have drawn the attention of the Canadian Government to the inconsistency between the measures recommended and the wish of both Governments to increase trade between the two countries.