HC Deb 02 July 1979 vol 969 cc887-8
8. Mr. Clinton Davis

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations have been made by the Government to the United States Government in the light of the United States grand jury decision to indict criminally seven transatlantic shipping groups, including Cunard, for alleged violations of United States anti-trust laws; and what reply has been given by the United States authorities.

Mr. Nott

Her Majesty's Government have on a number of occasions made their concern at the indictments very clear to the United States Administration. We have in particular warned them that their action endangers future co-operation on anti-trust matters.

Mr. Davis

Will the right hon. Gentleman recognise that we need to get out of the present impasse and should therefore urgently resume the previous dialogue? In that dialogue we might suggest independent surveillance of the conference system while doing our best to persuade the United States authorities and agencies of the merit of that system, particularly in regard to the Russian threat?

Mr. Nott

I agree that shipping is an international activity. We must try to get together around the table with the United States in order to solve these problems and prevent such a situation from arising in future. As the hon. Gentleman knows well, there are many problems, but I agree that joint discussion is a much better way of proceeding than the situation that has resulted from recent incidents.