HC Deb 20 November 1967 vol 754 cc923-4
36 and 37. Mr. Macdonald

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) why six weeks elapsed from the publication on 17th July of Turkish Decree No. 6/8454 before he was aware that he would have to apply for exemption for British hauliers from the levies imposed by this decree; and if he is aware that his delay in obtaining exemption has placed British hauliers at a disadvantage compared with their competitors in countries whose Governments have already obtained exemption;

(2) by what date he hopes to obtain exemption for British hauliers from the levies imposed by Turkish Decree No. 6/8454; by what date he hopes to obtain the agreement of the Turkish Government to refund the levies already paid; and by what date the refunds will be made.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

I will, with permission, answer these Questions together.

Shortly after publication of the Turkish Decree No. 6/8458 a translation was sent to London by our Ankara Embassy. The Ministry of Transport then wrote to the Turkish authorities on 16th August and in the light of their reply a formal case for exemption was prepared and put to the Turkish Government at the end of September. Since the Decree was published without prior notice and the matter is a very complex one, I do not consider that our approach was unduly delayed. Negotiations are now in progress to secure exemption on a reciprocal and retrospective basis. I cannot say when these will be concluded.

Mr. Macdonald

I will, with permission, ask both my supplementary questions together. Is my hon. Friend aware that my constituent is having to pay £300 per trip every time a vehicle goes through, and that it is £340 with effect from today? Is he aware that no firm can stand this cost? In the event that he is unsuccessful in obtaining the agreement, what plans has he to pay the refund of the levies already paid? Is he prepared to pay compensation?

Mr. Roberts

I can assure my hon. Friend that the negotiations now in progress show good hope that we shall succeed in securing exemption on both a reciprocal and a retrospective basis.