HC Deb 19 November 1959 vol 613 cc1335-6
41. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration was given by Her Majesty's Government and consultation held with other member Governments of the International Monetary Fund regarding the price of gold and the international exchange value of the United States dollar before the United Kingdom executive director of the fund concurred in its proposal for the removal of discriminatory trade restrictions imposed for balance of payment reasons.

Mr. Barber

The decision by the International Monetary Fund on discrimination related to existing international commitments and did not inaugurate a new policy to which conditions might be attached.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Was not it unfortunate that this proposal of this international organisation should have been presented to the world in The Times and elsewhere as a joint proposal with the United States State Department? Is not it desirable that countries should be able to use the present position to get themselves out of debt to the United States before being asked to submit to increased competition from that country?

Mr. Barber

As far as I know, all members of the International Monetary Fund subscribed to this decision. Indeed, even before this decision was made, all members of the Fund and of the G.A.T.T. were under an international obligation to put their payments and trade on a non-discriminatory basis as soon as they could. The decision taken by the Board of the International Monetary Fund was simply that this time had come.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is it the policy of the Government to be non-discriminatory only in relation to G.A.T.T. members, excluding, of course, Japan, or is it their general policy to be non-discriminatory? Will the hon. Gentleman say why, when the restrictions on dollar imports were removed, the Government tightened the restrictions on imports from China?

Mr. Barber

That is another question. I was asked a specific Question in relation to considerations concerning the decision of the International Monetary Fund. I should be happy to answer the right hon. Gentleman if he put a Question on the Paper.