HC Deb 03 November 1959 vol 612 cc847-8
35. Mr. Ross

asked the President of the Board of Trade the industries he expects to be subjected to increased competition as a result of the proposed Outer Seven free trade agreement.

Mr. Maudling

The effect of free trade under this agreement will be to increase competition for manufacturers here of all the goods produced by our partners. Amongst the most important are paper and board, dyestuffs, fine chemicals and a wide range of engineering as well as consumer goods. Our partners will, of course, have equally to expect increased competition from the wide range of our exports to them.

Mr. Ross

Will the President of the Board of Trade undertake to look at where these factories that are to be subject to this increased competition are sited? There is more than a feeling in Scotland that we are to bear in a very large measure the losses to be suffered, whereas the gains will be in another part of the country altogether.

Mr. Maudling

I am aware of this feeling. I have looked into it very closely, and I think that it is not justified. There certainly will be great competition for many Scottish industries, but I think that, on the whole, people tend to underestimate the increased opportunities for Scottish goods to be sold in the area covered by the proposed European Free Trade Association.

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