HC Deb 30 June 1960 vol 625 cc1527-8
3. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the President of the Board of Trade what decisions were reached at the sixteenth session of the Geneva Agreement on Tariffs and Trade at which Her Majesty's Government were represented and which ended in Geneva on 4th June, 1960; what estimate he has made of their effect on Scottish trade and industry; and what steps will be taken to implement these decisions.

Mr. Maudling

The discussion at the session related principally to such general matters as the consistency of the European Free Trade Association with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the desirability of expanding the exports of less-developed countries. The Contracting Parties to the General Agreement took certain formal decisions; for the most part, they were of minor importance and permitted individual Governments to take action which would otherwise have been technically contrary to the General Agreement. As the list of these decisions is rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. It would not be practicable to estimate the effect of these decisions, if any, on Scottish trade and industry.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Minister aware that certain Scottish industries have been greatly prejudiced by the recent organisations and reorganisations referred to in the Question? What I really want to know is what steps he is taking to protect those Scottish industries.

Mr. Maudling

The Question asked about the decisions taken at the last meeting of G.A.T.T., and I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT the actual decisions taken. The hon. and learned Gentleman will see from that that they have not much relevance to the particular problem which he rightly has in mind.

Following is the information: Decisions were taken by the Contracting Parties to the G.A.T.T. at their 16th Session, held in Geneva from 16th May to 4th June, on the following matters:
  1. (i) for the establishment of a Council to deal with urgent matters between Sessions;
  2. (ii) for the waiving of the provisions of Article I to permit South Africa to increase certain duties while incidentally increasing the preferences enjoyed by the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland;
  3. (iii) for the suspension of the provisions of Article II referring to the binding of duties to enable New Zealand to introduce a new tariff;
  4. (iv) for the extension for 60 days of the period granted to Brazil within which certain tariff concessions are to be put into effect;
  5. (v) for the extension of the suspension of the provisions of Article II to enable Greece to introduce a revised tariff;
  6. (vi) for the extension of the time-limit for the negotiations of modifications to certain tariff concessions;
  7. (vii) for the release of Ceylon and Cuba (under procedures in Article XVIII) from certain obligations so as to enable them to apply measures to meet special difficulties in the establishment or substantial expansion of particular industries;
  8. (viii) for the extension of the period prescribed in paragraph 3 (a) of Article XIX during which contracting parties might avail themselves, in the event of the failure of consultations with the United States about restrictions on imports of lead and zinc, of rights under that paragraph;
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  10. (ix) for the retention of paragraph (j) of Article XX for a further 5 years;
  11. (x) for the participation of Spain and Portugal, pending full accession, in the work of the Contracting Parties;
  12. (xi) for the extension of the date for accepting the Declaration on the provisional accession of Switzerland;
  13. (xii) for the establishment of Working Parties in the Latin American Free Trade Area, the Avoidance of Market Disruption, and Restrictive Business Practices.