HC Deb 17 February 1959 vol 600 cc176-8
14. Mr. de Freitas

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make further representations about the rejection by the United States Govern ment of the bid by a British firm for turbines for Greer's Ferry Dam, in view of the fact that the same American firm awarded the contract for turbines has, as a result of a recent decision of Her Majesty's Government, been allowed to export to this country certain earth-moving equipment, and that this export has directly resulted in the cancellation of orders for similar equipment made by a Lincoln firm which is already working short-time.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

No, Sir. We have already made representations about the rejection of this bid and I do not think that further representations would strengthen the claim we have made on behalf of the English Electric Company.

Mr. de Freitas

Would it not be useful to point out that the very firm which was awarded these contracts was, as a result of a special decision of the Government quite recently, allowed to export to this country certain earth-moving equipment which we could make in Lincoln? Does he realise that Lincoln was also to make components for the English Electric turbine? So, as a result of the acts of the Government and the United States Government, the city has lost both on the swings and on the roundabouts.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

Wide publicity has been given to the facts contained in the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question. I think he should note that since liberalisation imports of all types of earth-moving equipment from America have fallen off.

36. Mr. Sorensen

asked the President of the Board of Trade what intimation he has received from the Government of the United States of America in respect of further refusals of British tenders for the supply of machinery to the United States of America at prices lower than United States or other competitors.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

The United States Government have informed us that the Greer's Ferry Dam project does not establish a precedent and that each case will be considered on its merits.

Mr. Sorensen

In the interests of promoting Anglo-American friendship and understanding, is it not highly desirable for the American Government to explain more fully and adequately to the people of this country why they exercised this unfortunate kind of discrimination?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

That is a matter of public relations for the United States Government rather than for me, but the Buy American Act applies only to orders placed by Federal agencies.

38. Mr. de Ferranti

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he proposes to take to promote the export of electrical generating equipment to the United States of America.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

My hon. Friend will be aware of the representations that Her Majesty's Government have already made about the contract for Greer's Ferry Dam. But the sale of generating equipment in the United States is essentially for the individual manufacturer and strenuous and successful efforts have indeed been made. In this connection, I am glad that the Tennessee Valley Authority has just awarded a large contract to a British company. It is an important event in Anglo-American trading relations.

Mr. de Ferranti

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his reply. Is he aware, however, that in this whole question there is need to tread softly? Will he undertake to consult the industry at all possible stages?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

Yes, Sir.