HC Deb 02 February 1961 vol 633 cc1174-5
26. Mr. Bellenger

asked the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the general effect on British trade of the latest tariff adjustments by the European Economic Corn-mission; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Maudling

It is not possible as yet to make a statistical assessment of the effect of these changes.

Mr. Bellenger

Does not the right hon. Gentleman know that various trade associations are already doing that? Surely he ought not to be behind them? Surely he should, without delay, be able to give some useful information to the House and to manufacturers generally so that they can formulate their plans?

Mr. Maudling

The right hon. Gentleman asked for an assessment of the general effect on British trade. I think he will realise that there is no individual firm or even association which can do that. To make a general forecast is exceedingly difficult in view of the extremely complex nature of the complex tariff structure involved.