HC Deb 12 December 1963 vol 686 c543
7. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development whether, in negotiating future trade agreements and commercial treaties, he will include a clause guaranteeing free competition in shipping.

Mr. du Cann

Her Majesty's Government's policy is to encourage free competition in international shipping. Provision for this is made in commercial treaties and trade agreements whenever the opportunity occurs.

Mr. Digby

Will my hon. Friend lose no opportunity, because the policy of sweet reasonableness in shipping has not paid very well? Surely the time has come to use all the weapons at our command in this connection.

Mr. du Cann

Certainly there are difficulties. Our general aim is very clearly to work for satisfactory non-discriminatory shipping provisions.

Mr. G. R. Howard

Can my hon. Friend say whether Her Majesty's Government have any ideas—

Hon. Members


Hon. Members

Speak for yourselves.

Mr. Howard

—about such irksome restrictions being imposed on liners like the "United States" when they come to this country as are imposed, or proposed to be imposed, by the United States of America?

Mr. du Cann

I think that that is properly a question for the Minister of Transport, but I will certainly see that my hon. Friend's observations are brought to his attention.

Dame Irene Ward

Is my hon. Friend aware that sweet reasonableness seems to be making matters worse and not better? Can he find an answer to that?

Mr. du Cann

One of the problems is that so many nations these days have new fleets, but certainly my right hon. Friend and the Minister of Transport together keep a close watch on these matters and endeavour to take such action as is open to us.