HC Deb 16 June 1959 vol 607 cc233-4
33. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the President of the Board of Trade what report he has received from the Anglo-Dutch Trade Council with regard to the limitations imposed by this country on the import of Dutch bulbs; and if he will request that organisation to submit to him a report on the extent to which Anglo-Dutch trade could be increased by the abolition of these restrictions.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I do not propose to ask the Anglo-Dutch Trade Council for a report. My right hon. Friend will, of course, be ready to consider any comments which the Council may wish to submit, although they will be well aware of our intention to remove import restrictions as soon as circumstances permit.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

In view of the staggeringly good export figures for this last month and the good trade returns generally, has not the time come to bring about liberalisation in a small matter like bulbs? Could not the Anglo-Dutch Trade Council help in that way?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

We have gone a long way towards liberalisation, as my hon. Friend knows full well, but there are many claims for early liberalisation.

Mr. Snow

Has not there been a rather long and sorry history about this trade with Holland? Is it not a fact that the balance of trade is extremely favourable towards us, and is not there a shortage of these bulbs in this country? Is it not also a fact that our home production would not be seriously affected, if at all, if these limitations were removed?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I am well aware of the hon. Gentleman's views on this matter, but I must repeat that there are other articles which have an equal claim to priority in liberalisation. As to the question about Anglo-Dutch trade, it is true that our exports to that country fell last year, but our imports rose substantially.