HC Deb 02 July 1979 vol 969 cc892-3
12. Mr. Goodlad

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action he proposes to take to follow up the results of the UNCTAD conference in Manila.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade (Mr. Cecil Parkinson)

Matters debated at the conference will be followed up initially at the October meeting of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board. We shall play an active part in preparations for this meeting within the European Community and in OECD as a whole.

Mr. Goodlad

Will my hon. Friend accept that the conference represented a limited, positive step in the right direction and that we congratulate him upon his important role in it? Will he say whether the Government intend to publish a White Paper on the matter and, if so, could he anticipate its contents to the extent of telling us something about the steps that will be taken to remove non-tariff barriers and to establish a common fund for the stabilisation of foreign exchange earnings of primary producers?

Mr. Parkinson

A White Paper will be published which will set out the results of the conference. This should go some way towards removing some of the misgivings about the conference and the feeling that it was not a success. In my view, it was a great success, not only because of the things that it decided to do, but because of the things that it decided not to do, many of which would have damaged the interests of those who wished to do them.

The workings of the common fund are still being discussed. My right hon. Friend has made it quite clear that he wants to see the headquarters in London.

Mrs. Dunwoody

Is not the Minister aware that many of the Third world countries will feel badly damaged by the trading arrangements? They do not feel that a positive enough contribution has been made by UNCTAD. Is it not a fact that the EEC is using its barriers against Third world countries to their disadvantage? What does he intend to do to change that situation?

Mr. Parkinson

In discussions with individual member States from the Third world, I found that they took quite different views from the one that was stated publicly. In consultations with representatives of four of the countries after the conference, I found that they all felt that they had gained something very worth while from the conference.

Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler

Will my hon. Friend tell us when he expects the White Paper on UNCTAD to be published? What steps do the Government propose to ensure that the common fund headquarters is in London?

Mr. Parkinson

We hope to publish the White Paper as soon as possible. A number of considerations, not least of which is public expenditure, are involved in the siting of the common fund headquarters. However, my right hon. Friend and I are exploring every possible way of encouraging that fund to be based in London.