HC Deb 05 July 1971 vol 820 cc900-2
5. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the industries which he expects to benefit from British membership of an enlarged European Economic Community.

Mr. John Davies

Probably all United Kingdom industries are potentially capable of benefiting from what would eventually be a greatly enlarged home market. Much would depend on the enterprise shown by individual firms.

Mr. Lane

Is it not clear that most of British industry is eagerly looking forward, as my right hon. Friend has confirmed, to the opportunities presented by an enlarged Community, and is this not another reason why the whole nation should approach the prospect with confidence rather than with apprehension?

Mr. Davies

My clear belief is that the balanced judgment of British industry generally is very much in favour of membership and believes that it will derive very great advantages from it.

Mr. Benn

Will the Secretary of State give the House a categorical assurance that the White Paper, when published, will contain all the documents that may bear on industries other than steel and coal, which were recently commented on as the result of the negotiations that were conducted with the Six?

Mr. Davies

I believe that the White Paper will give a very wide field for discussion of all the issues involved. To produce all the documents would, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, be quite impossible.

52. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what will be the position after entry of joint trading and business arrangements concluded prior to British entry into the European Economic Community between countries and companies within the Six and the United Kingdom affecting both Government and private enterprise, giving details of individual agreements.

Mr. John Davies

Bilateral trade arrangements between the United Kingom and France, Germany and Benelux, which relate to only a small part of our trade with those countries, would cease to apply in the transition period. Intergovernmental agreements and arrangements on technological projects will continue. It would not be possible to provide the details without a disproportionate expenditure of time and money. Agreements between United Kingdom and E.E.C. companies would have to accord with the rules of the Community.

Mr. Lewis

That is a complicated answer. Can the Minister give an assurance that the White Paper will fully deal with this aspect? As I understand it, it will mean that we shall once again be on the losing end. The right hon. Member does not seem to be able to give us any facts or figures without spending an undue proportion of time and money. Is not he aware that the House and the country want to know what is happening? Instead of spending thousands of pounds issuing propaganda, let us have the facts and figures, and do not say that it costs money to get them.

Mr. Davies

The hon. Member should be reassured to know that the changes in these arrangements will give rise to an expansion in trade rather than the contraction that he feared.