HC Deb 06 November 1958 vol 594 cc1087-8
18. Mr. Jay

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement on the negotiations between the Cotton Board and manufacturing interests in Hong Kong for a limitation of cotton imports into the United Kingdom.

The President of the Board of Trade (Sir David Eccles)

The Hong Kong negotiating committee met on Tuesday to consider the Cotton Board's proposals. After the meeting it issued a statement that it considered the proposals formed a reasonable basis for agreement but that a number of technical points required clarification. I understand that the committee is to meet again tomorrow.

Mr. Jay

Would the President agree that one of the main influences inducing the Hong Kong interests to reach agreement has been the knowledge that a Labour Government here would do something about it any way? Can he also say whether the recent restrictions on Hong Kong goods imposed by the French Government have added to these difficulties?

Sir D. Eccles

In answer to the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, I would say that I hope not. I hope that the Hong Kong people see, as we do, that a voluntary agreement would be in the best interests of both their industry and Lancashire's. In regard to the second part of the right hon. Gentleman's Question, we have made vigorous representations to the French Government on the basis of the facts as we know them, but we are not absolutely sure that we yet have the full facts.