HC Deb 02 May 1962 vol 658 c1020
33. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what assurances he has received from each of the Commonwealth Governments about safeguards for the rights of British exporters to their markets in return for Great Britain's demand to safeguard Commonwealth trade interests before the United Kingdom joins the European Common Market; and if he will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

We rely on the Governments of other Commonwealth countries to show the same concern for the protection of Britain's trading interests as we show for the protection of theirs.

Sir C. Osborne

May I ask my right hon. Friend from which of the countries which are objecting to our joining the Common Market he has received offers that they will increase their trade with this country if we do not join the Common Market?

Mr. Sandys

Our talks with Commonwealth Governments are confidential, but if the facts were revealed I do not think they would give much satisfaction to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Wade

Will the subject of British exports to the Commonwealth countries be considered at the forthcoming Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference?

Mr. Sandys

I should be very surprised if it was not.

Sir C. Osborne

Does the Minister feel that the members of the Commonwealth have no right to object to our trying to increase our trade with the Common Market—and I am neither for nor against it—unless they themselves are prepared to help in increasing their trade with this country? Could I have an answer?

Hon. Members