HC Deb 06 March 1972 vol 832 cc1010-1
9. Mr. Deakins

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with those European Free Trade Association States which are not seeking full membership of the European Economic Community.

16. Mr. Molloy

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with those of Great Britain's European Free Trade Association partners which decline to join the European Economic Community; and if he will make a statement.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)

We are in close contact with European Free Trade Association non-applicant countries and, of course, we remain a member of the European Free Trade Association until the end of this year. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had talks with Dr. Kreisky, the Austrian Chancellor, the week before last. The Swiss Foreign Minister also visited London on 22nd and 23rd February.

Mr. Deakins

Are Her Majesty's Government expressing to the Community our deep concern that nobody in this country wants to see a re-erection of trade barriers in Western Europe for any commodity whatever?

Mr. Rippon

If the hon. Gentleman will look at the communiqué which was issued after the last meeting of the E.F.T.A. Ministerial Council, and which is contained in the OFFICIAL REPORT Of 11th November last year, he will see that we are all agreed about that.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Will my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that most of the E.F.T.A. countries, particularly Sweden, Austria and Switzerland, are trying to have some form of association with the Common Market which will increase their trade with the enlarged Community?

Mr. Rippon

That is so, and I understand that their negotiations are proceeding well.