HC Deb 23 March 1961 vol 637 cc559-60
17. Mr. Dugdale

asked the President of the Board of Trade why he authorises Intertype, a wholly-owned American subsidiary in the United Kingdom, to instruct purchasers from some other countries wishing to buy its products to purchase them in the United States of America.

Mr. Maudling

There is no question of my authorising or not authorising the actions of a private firm. The firm has a long order book and an excellent export record.

Mr. Dugdale

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a letter such as I have described was sent by a wholly-owned American subsidiary to a firm wishing to buy these products and that the firm was instructed to buy in America at an extra cost of 5,000 dollars? Does he think this right? In view of the increasing number of wholly-owned subsidiary companies in this country, including Henry Ford, does he think it is right that such letters should be sent out, thus depriving British firms of work which otherwise they might do?

Mr. Maudling

A firm can never instruct inquirers to buy somewhere else. This firm has and is consistently exporting over 60 per cent. of its output, which is a magnificent export record. It has a long order book and it is only reasonable that it should tell an inquirer that if he felt like it and wanted goods at an earlier date he could go elsewhere. That is only fair and reasonable, and as I say, this firm has an excellent record in exports.