HC Deb 03 November 1959 vol 612 cc839-40
22. Mr. Oram

asked the President of the Board of Trade what effect on this country's trade he estimates will arise from the United States decision to require that United States loans to underdeveloped countries, a proportion of which has in the past been spent in the United Kingdom, shall normally be spent in the United States of America; and what steps he proposes to take to counter any adverse effect which may arise.

Mr. Maudling

The effect of the United States decision to tie Development Loan Fund advances will be to reserve for United States exporters certain orders paid for by the United States that have hitherto been open to international competition. I cannot estimate the likely impact on our export trade.

Mr. Oram

If there should appear to be an adverse effect on United Kingdom trade, does not the President of the Board of Trade agree that in these matters of aid to under-developed countries it is highly desirable that there should be as much freedom from restriction as possible? Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance to the House that, if action is called for on the part of Her Majesty's Government, it will be in a positive direction of giving further loans to cover our export trade rather than in a negative direction of putting on restrictions against those of the United States.

Mr. Maudling

I quite agree that we do not want to see unnecessary restrictions. Some of our own loans—for instance, the loans under Section 3 of the Export Guarantees Act—are tied. We should not forget the very large extent to which the United States has made available dollars to under-developed countries throughout the world which have been used for buying goods not produced in the United States.