HC Deb 13 April 1961 vol 638 cc480-1
38. Mr. Prentice

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will review the list of chambers of commerce which are empowered to issue certificates of origin to exporters, so as to include the East Ham Chamber of Trade and Commerce; and if he will make a statement on the policy governing the composition of this list.

Mr. Maudling

We have to keep our list within manageable limits by, generally speaking, confining designations to the Federation of British Industries and to chambers affiliated to the Association of British Chambers of Commerce. The East Ham Chamber of Trade and Commerce is not affiliated to the Association, and I am not aware of any special circumstances which would justify treatment of its case as a special one.

Mr. Prentice

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is an anomaly here in that the London Chamber of Commerce claims to cover a large area and the chambers in large and important areas like East Ham are excluded from the list whereas chambers of commerce for smaller communities outside Greater London are included? Will he look into this and see whether the list can be reformed?

Mr. Maudling

I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman says, but the difficulty is that, although it would in some ways be desirable to extend the list, it is essential that countries overseas should continue to accept the validity of the certificates. If we authorised too many bodies to issue them, we might find their authority being challenged.