HC Deb 16 June 1959 vol 607 c219
9. Mr. Nabarro

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in connection with the Anglo-Portuguese Trade Fair which has recently been opened in Lisbon, what specific plans the Government have for making it possible for the Portuguese to increase their exports to the United Kingdom, and so be in a position to purchase a larger quantity of British good; and, in particular, what steps he will take to restore the trade in port wine to its pre-war volume.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

There are virtually no quota restrictions on imports of any Portuguese products and the duty on port wine was reduced as recently as last year's Budget. No further action by the Government seems to be called for.

Mr. Nabarro

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that the ability of Portuguese importers to buy British goods, which presumably was the purpose of the Trade Fair in Lisbon, is directly related to Portugal's ability to earn sterling? As the sale of port wine in this country represents practically the only ability which Portugal has to earn that sterling, would it not be appropriate to adjust the duty on this heavy wine to bring it more into line with the seemingly preferential treatment given to lighter wines?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

The latter part of that supplementary question is for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As regards the first part, we do not necessarily seek to take a too bilateral approach to these matters. They can pay for goods with other convertible currencies.