HC Deb 18 June 1973 vol 858 cc4-5
6. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions have taken place with Norway concerning a Common Market shipping policy.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Cranley Onslow)

None, Sir. But representatives of the United Kingdom and Norway participate regularly in discussions on shipping policy questions in several intergovernmental organisations.

Mr. Marten

Should not we have preliminary discussions with the Norwegians, particularly as the Common Market Commission has put forward an outline proposal that Common Market maritime traffic should be carried on Common Market vessels? Will my hon. Friend now say that the Government will have nothing to do with a restrictive practice such as that?

Mr. Onslow

It is always open to the Norwegians to make their views known, and there are effective channels of communication between them and us. My hon. Friend will remember that last week he was told by my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs that we shall bear in mind his concern with the possibility of discrimination against Norway in this as in other matters, and I am sure that nobody will be more assiduous than him in keeping us up to the mark.

Mr. Douglas

In view of the importance of the Norwegian shipping fleet, does not the Minister concede that it is of the utmost importance that the whole of Western Europe should have a coordinated policy not only for shipping but for shipbuilding?

Mr. Onslow

Shipbuilding goes somewhat wide of the mark on this Question. We are aware of the importance of shipping to the Norwegians. The hon. Gentleman may take comfort from the fact that in practice there is a wide measure of agreement in Western Europe on many shipping policy matters.