HC Deb 29 July 1965 vol 717 cc666-7
15. Mr. Peter Emery

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he is taking to stimulate further agreements on trade and tariff problems between the nations of the European Economic Community and the countries in the European Free Trade Association.

Mr. Jay

Following the initiative of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister at the recent meeting of the E.F.T.A. Ministers in Vienna, we are examining with our E.F.T.A. partners what suggestions might be put forward for discussion between the two groups with a view to promoting closer co-operation in Europe. We are continuing to work towards the success of the Kennedy Round which was agreed at that meeting to be of paramount importance as the principal means of lowering barriers to trade both worldwide and in Europe.

Mr. Emery

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the amount of trade being done by E.F.T.A. with the E.E.C. is decreasing in ratio at the moment? It is still greater than it was last year, but in ratio it is decreasing. Therefore, there is a need for something other than just consultation. Many of our E.F.T.A. partners expect Great Britain to take the lead in obtaining some definite results with the E.E.C.

Mr. Jay

Yes, I agree with the hon. Gentleman's practical proposals. It is true that the ratio is decreasing. The striking fact is that total trade between E.F.T.A. and the E.E.C. and indeed between the U.K. and the E.E.C., has more than doubled since the Rome Treaty was signed.