HC Deb 09 February 1965 vol 706 cc182-3
17. Mr. Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he is aware of the negotiations of certain West and East African Commonwealth countries with members of the European Economic Community to enter into a special relationship likely to be detrimental to Commonwealth and British trade; and what action he has taken to safeguard this trade.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

We are watching these discussions. The Commonwealth Governments concerned are aware of our interest and I have no reason to think that they contemplate anything detrimental to our trade.

Mr. Tilney

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that, with the exception of those countries which are trading with Commonwealth countries governed by the Congo Basin Treaty, Commonwealth preference has evolved to the mutual advantage of Commonwealth trade? If certain countries make it harder for our exports, then aid and our own import policy must be reconsidered.

Mr. Hughes

I think that there is a good deal in what the hon. Member says, but he will realise that Nigeria and the three East African countries—Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania—have traditionally operated a non-discriminatory tariff and Britain does not receive preferential treatment from them. On the other hand, they enjoy free entry and preferences in the United Kingdom for nearly all their exports.