HC Deb 29 January 1959 vol 598 c1226
6. Mr. Swingler

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he is taking through the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe to secure a greater volume and freedom of trade throughout the European area.

Sir D. Eccles

The United Kingdom has co-operated fully in the work of the Commission and its various committees. The opportunity to expand trade between the Soviet bloc and the West has been secured by a revision of the embargo list.

Mr. Swingler

Does not this offer very much more fruitful possibilities of freeing trade than negotiations about markets merely in Western Europe? Considering the time the Government have spent in negotiating about a Free Trade Area in the West, and their concern with the Common Market in the West, should they not now put forward some definite proposals to this Economic Commission for freeing trade throughout Europe?

Sir D. Eccles

I think that when we have two completely different systems of trade—a State trading system in the Communist bloc, and a free trading system in the other—the best way is to proceed as we have been doing; namely, to give the Communist bloc the opportunity to buy what we understand they would like to buy.