§ 4. Mr. P. Williams
asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what representations he has received from the steel industry about the policy of the Uruguayan Government in applying a policy of flag discrimination to the detriment of British shipping and trading interests; and what action he proposes to take in view of this damaging precedent.
§ The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Edward du Cann)
A steel firm and its shipping agents have drawnmy attention to the difficulties they have experienced as a result of Uruguayan flag discrimination. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary explained on 28th November in answer to the hon. and learned Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) the representations which 541 we are making to the Uruguayan Government about their shipping policies.
§ Mr. Williams
While I welcome the limited nature of that answer, would my hon. Friend accept that this is one of a series of incidents in the extension of flags of discrimination which militates against the interests of British shipping and its ability to earn currency of vital importance for the survival of this nation? Will he undertake a more aggressive policy in the promotion of the interests of British shipping, in particular in relation to present developments in the United States of America?
§ Mr. du Cann
We attach great importance to our shipping interests and we propose to make our attitude towards this question quite clear at the current; G.A.T.T. meeting.