HC Deb 15 November 1971 vol 826 cc24-5
27. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has yet received a reply from the United States Government to his aide-memoire on the proposed United States tax credits for the purchase of machinery of United States manufacture.

Mr. John Davies

No, Sir.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Will my right hon. Friend consider pointing out to the United States Government that in the face of what is, I believe, the totally unprecedented defiance of the G.A.T.T. rules, patience cannot be unlimited? Has he noted the report in the Financial Times to the effect that the U.S. Government might be prepared to reduce but not eliminate the tax credit system as part of what they have the nerve to describe as a "general settlement"? Will he make it clear that such an approach would be entirely unacceptable to Her Majesty's Government?

Mr. Davies

I fully share my hon. Friend's impatience over this matter. I confirm what he said. This step taken by the American Administration seems to be in clear definance of the G.A.T.T. The Minister for Trade spoke out strongly about this during his recent visit to San Francisco. I have noted what was written in the Financial Times and I trust that it was simply a slip of the tongue.

Mr. Paget

Is this not very much to be expected from the Americans when we decide to point a trade bloc whose policy is adverse to American policy? Can we reasonably complain?

Mr. Davies

I do not think that that view holds up. The bloc to which the hon. and learned Gentleman refers is, in fact, the largest single external trader in the world. It cannot be said to be adverse to trade opportunities with America, with which it does an enormous amount of trade.

Mr. Benn

Will the right hon. Gentleman say which dates oral representations were made to the American Government on this matter by either diplomatic or Ministerial spokesmen to supplement the aide-memoire?

Mr. Davies

Representations were made to the U.S. authorities on 13th September and 4th October. These are the dates of which I have been notified.

Mr. Benn

Were they oral representations?

Mr. Davies

On the dates in question written representations were made.

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