HC Deb 20 February 1973 vol 851 cc214-5
18. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Minister of State for Defence what representations have been made by the Defence Sales Department to the United States authorities regarding the United States Defence Appropriations Act for the fiscal year 1973 which contains an amendment prohibiting the purchase of equipment containing a specified range of foreign produced speciality metals and which amendment would effectively prevent many United Kingdom aerospace exports to the United States Department of Defence.

Mr. Ian Gilmour

Since the amendment was first proposed we have repeatedly made our views knows to the United States administration. We have strongly urged them to secure the repeal of this additional obstacle to trade between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is not this amendment, which did not have the support of the American administration, one of the worst examples of protectionism and will it not do a great deal of harm to British exports to the United States during the period when it is in force? What estimate has been made of its effect? What steps are being taken to ensure that certain military aircraft sales in particular are not affected by the amendment?

Mr. Gilmour

As the right hon. Gentleman has said, this is a highly protectionist amendment. That is why we have urged its repeal. But I assure the right hon.

Gentleman that the sale of Harrier aircraft is not affected by it.

Mr. Tebbit

Will my hon. Friend assure the House that the effect of the amendment will be borne in mind when consideration is being given to whether we should negotiate with the Chinese Government to sell to them military equipment, which it is generally believed they are interested in purchasing here?

Mr. Gilmour

My hon. Friend will agree that that is quite another question.