HC Deb 29 April 1965 vol 711 cc614-5
26. Mr. Bessell

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in order to encourage home production of pig meat, he will place an embargo on the importation of bacon from Poland and other Communist countries.

Mr. Redhead

No, Sir.

Mr. Bessell

Is the Minister of State aware that there is considerable dissatisfaction amongst British producers of pig meat and bacon at the amount of imports from other countries, particularly from Communist countries? Is he aware that this is considerably discouraging home production?

Mr. Redhead

It was only last year that a sharing understanding was reached, in which Poland and Hungary were partners, and this is, in our view, of considerable value in bringing stability to the bacon market. If we deprived Poland and others of their share, there would be no guarantee that the gap would be filled by home supplies. Other imports—for example, from Denmark—would be more likely to gain.

Mr. Ennals

Is my hon. Friend aware that there are many Members on this side who would deeply resent any attempt to undermine the basis of our expanding trade with Poland and other countries in Eastern Europe? Further, would my hon. Friend kindly explain to the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Bessell) something about the principles of free trade, to which I understand the Liberal Party is wedded?

Mr. Redhead

We are quite convinced that to put an embargo on bacon, as is suggested in the Question, would be contrary not only to the understanding but to our long-term policy of improving trade relations with Poland.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is our balance of trade with Poland and these other Communist countries mentioned favourable or unfavourable?

Mr. Redhead

At the moment it is unfavourable. Appropriate representations have been made to the Polish authorities.