§ 1. Mr. Blaker
asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will now state the result of his discussions with the Zambian Government on the improvement of trade between Zambia and Great Britain.
§ The Minister of State, Commonwealth Relations Office (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes)
I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend told the hon. Member on 25th January. The question of encouraging Commonwealth Trade is, of course, to be the subject of discussions by Commonwealth Trade Ministers at their forthcoming meeting.
§ Mr. Blaker
Does the hon. Gentleman recall that his right hon. Friend told the House in January that he had made certain proposals to the Government of Zambia which were being discussed? Since it is now about two months since Zambia abolished preferences in our favour, will the hon. Gentleman ensure that these negotiations are pushed forward with great urgency?
§ Mr. Hughes
The discussions which my right hon. Friend had with Mr. Wina were principally about Zambia's tariff changes, but I can tell the hon. Gentleman that since then there have been many contacts between Zambian and British officials and business men, many arising in the context of Zambia's part in the Rhodesian situation.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that until there is a settlement in Rhodesia there is likely to be grave damage to both the Zambian and the United Kingdom economy?
§ Mr. Hughes
Certainly settlement in Rhodesia is desirable not only from Zambia's but Rhodesia's point of view, and the sooner the rebel régime is brought down the better it will be for all concerned.