§ 24. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government regarding the future of the European Free Trade Association.
§ 66. Mr. Richard
asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps are 1515 being taken to safeguard the future of the European Free Trade Association.
§ 67. Mrs. Shirley Williams
asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he intends to take to improve the future prospects of the European Free Trade Association.
§ 72. Mr. Channon
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement about the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the future of the European Free Trade Association.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
While we are all glad that the latest meeting of E.F.T.A. did something to correct the deplorable impression created by the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues at their first meeting with E.F.T.A., will the President of the Board of Trade bear in mind that this country is still in flagrant breach of the Treaty of Stockholm? As the import surcharges, as long as they are regarded as temporary, are unlikely to have any great effect, will he remove them forthwith and correct the fallacies of Government policy on the matter?
§ Mr. Jay
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will be glad to see that in the Monopolies and Mergers Bill published yesterday we have included a Clause to carry out obligations to E.F.T.A., that had been overlooked by the previous Government.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for answering the question on this occasion, at least, if not on a previous occasion, but will he not agree that he is in grave danger of minimising the great damage done to E.F.T.A. by the clumsy and ham-handed way in which he and his friends imposed the surcharge?
§ Mr. Barber
Will the right hon. Gentleman take his, right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State by the hand and explain to him the facts of life about the 1516 15 per cent. surcharge? Is the President of the Board of Trade aware that his right hon. Friend said at the weekend that the surcharge had already been reduced by one-third, and advised housewives to press for a reduction of one-third in the prices of goods in the shops? Will the right hon. Gentleman please tell the First Secretary that (a), the surcharge has not yet been reduced, and will not be reduced for nearly two months, and (b), it cannot possibly account for at least one-third of the prices of those goods?