§ 5. Mr. Ellis Smith
asked the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received about the import restrictions on trade with China; what modifications have been made or are intended; what quotas there are for glassware, and what these include; to what extent ceilings have been fixed for the importation of Chinese goods; and whether he will make a full statement on the problems involved in the fixing of ceilings, quotas and the need for a large scale expansion of mutual trade.
§ The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. F. J. Erroll)
As the Answer is a long one and contains a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
Does the Minister of State remember that where he and I were employed we benefited for many years to the extent of millions of pounds worth of orders? Does his recent experience of a visit to China confirm that there is enormous good will towards the people of this country, especially for our technique and skill, and, if so, has not the time arrived when there should be a large-scale expansion of trade?
Following is the information:The new import licensing arrangements for China have been discussed with the Chinese authorities and with a number of firms and representative trade organisations. I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer given on 27th January to my hon. Friend the Member for Merton and Morden (Mr. Atkins) about the Government's policy in expanding 1091 trade with China and to the Answer given on 23rd February to the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler) about the allocation of licences. As regards the quotas for glassware, I would refer to the
|QUOTAS FOR IMPORTS FROM CHINA FOR THE PERIOD 1ST JANUARY TO 31ST DECEMBER, 1960 ESTABLISHED UNDER THE ARRANGEMENTS ANNOUNCED ON 4TH NOVEMBER 1959M|
|Meat and meat products, frozen or in airtight containers (of which not more than £150,000 for poultry)||…||…||£400,000|
|Fish, fresh, frozen or preserved, other than fish packed in airtight containers||…||…||£300,000|
|Canned oranges (including Clementines, mandarins and tangarines) and canned pineapple (of which not more than £150,000 for canned pineapple)||…||…||£550,000|
|Nuts in shell, or shelled||…||…||£250,000|
|Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals (subject to type)||…||…||£350,000|
|Silk piece goods for home retention (originally £250,000) increased to||…||…||£380,000|
|Headgear (including hat bodies, hoods and shapes) not made wholly or partly of wool or felt (originally £500,000) increased to||…||…||£655,000|
|Hand-made carpets (originally £500,000) increased to||…||…||£634,000|
|Pottery (originally £50,000) increased to||…||…||£80,000|
|Basketware (other than wicker, cane or willow) and manufactures of raffia and straw||…||…||£150,000|
|Sports goods, toys and games||…||…||£180,000|
|Additional Quotas (since the original announcement)—|
|Furniture and woodware||…||…||£150,000|
|Chinese food specialities||…||…||£75,000|
|Canned fruit, other than oranges and pineapple||…||…||£50,000|
|Fruit and vegetables (variously grouped)||each approx||£25,000|
|Canned fish||each approx||£25,000|
|Preserved ginger||each approx||£25,000|
|Textiles and manufactures thereof, not covered by other quotas (variously grouped)||each approx||£25,000|
|Cutlery and hardware||each approx||£25,000|
|Leather goods and footwear||each approx||£25,000|
|Musical instruments||each approx||£25,000|
|NOTE.—There has not been sufficient interest in other items for formal quota arrangements to be made and these have generally been dealt with by issuing licences to applicants on request.|
§ 6. Mr. Ellis Smith
asked the President of the Board of Trade what action it is intended to take to bring about increased trade with China; to what extent China's sterling balances have increased, and whether this permits an increase in United Kingdom exports; how exports of capital goods to China compare, as a percentage, with pre-war exports; and what technical assistance is being provided or has been offered to China.
§ Mr. Erroll
The services of the Department and of Her Majesty's representative in Peking are available to facilitate increased trade with China. No figures are published of China's sterling balances, but clearly any increase would help China to increase her purchases from the United Kingdom amongst other countries. The value of United Kingdom
§ Answer given to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) on 4th March and to the list below of the quotas set up for China and of the modications since the new arrangements were first announced.
§ exports of capital goods to China in 1959 is estimated at approximately four times that in 1938. As regards the last part of the Question, a number of technical facilities in the United Kingdom are available to the Chinese should they wish to use them.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
Whilst appreciating that reply, may I ask the Minister of State whether he is aware that prior to the war large numbers of Chinese students who were studying technical questions used to visit this country and our men, in return, used to visit China? It was a mutual flow between the two countries. Those of us who have had large numbers of Chinese students working with us remember the enormous good will that it created. Has not the time arrived when that sort of exchange should be renewed?
§ Mr. Erroll
Yes, Sir, I am aware of what the hon. Gentleman has said, and in part answer to his previous supplementary question I would point out that during my visit to China I particularly reminded the Chinese of our willingness to receive engineering and other students in this country.
§ 7. Mr. Swingler
asked the President of the Board of Trade, in granting licences for imports from China, how many new applications have been granted and how many refused in the last six months; and what value of trade has been allowed to new applicants in this period.
§ Mr. Erroll
I regret that this information could not be obtained without a disproportionate amount of work.
§ Mr. Swingler
Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the complaints that are being made from a number of people that new applications for licences for trade with China are being refused on the grounds that they have no past experience and that the quotas allow only for those who have been in the trade already? Will he look into this whole matter, in view of the promise, which he has just confirmed, that the Government are in favour of the maximum expansion of trade with China, because it is extremely frustrating to those who feel that they have some trade they would like to enter?
§ Mr. Erroll
I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I have looked into this matter. In any import licensing system one must have regard first to those who have already been in the trade. There have been a large number of applications quite unrelated in size to the level of the trade by the applicant concerned. We look particularly carefully at new applicants for licences for trade in lines which they did not go in for before.
§ 20. Sir L. Plummer
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will arrange for the publication of revised versions of Notices to Importers, Nos. 920 and 921, for the benefit of British importers of goods from China.
§ Mr. Erroll
My right hon. Friend will bear this suggestion in mind. The hon. Member may find it helpful to refer to the list of quotas I am today circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT as part of my Answer to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith).
§ Sir L. Plummer
I am grateful to the Minister for making an attempt to clear up what was causing a great deal of confusion. Is he aware that as a result of the changes which have come about since 4th November quotas have been supplemented by import licences and that many importers do not know from period to period whether their import licences will be granted? Will he, in the interest of clarification, publish a new statement so that they can understand exactly where they stand?
§ Mr. Erroll
As I said in my main Answer, we will give careful consideration to the hon. Member's suggestion.
§ 8. Mr. Swingler
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give a list of imports from China subject to quota restrictions in respect of which his Department is rejecting all licence applications from firms unable to give details of past trade.
§ Following is the list:
- Cotton and rayon textiles and manufactures.
- Meat and meat products.
- Canned pineapple.
- Other canned fruit (excluding pineapple and oranges).
- Silk piece goods.
- Basketware and straw manufactures.
- Table glassware.
- Leather goods, including footwear.