HC Deb 21 May 1979 vol 967 cc678-9
7. Mr. Hal Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what arrangements have been negotiated with the People's Republic of China for reciprocal landing rights in China both for scheduled and charter flights.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade (Mr. Norman Tebbit)

A United Kingdom team is presently in Peking for the purpose of negotiations which I hope will lead to the conclusion of an air services agreement with the People's Republic of China.

Mr. Miller

I assure my hon. Friend that I share the appreciation felt in all parts of the House of his appointment. Will he ensure that in any air services agreement due regard will be paid to the possibility of landing rights in China for Hong Kong air interests?

Mr. Tebbit

I certainly give that assurance. There are negotiations going on between the People's Republic of China and the authorities concerning Hong Kong. The interests of the colony will be safeguarded.

Mr. McCrindle

Will the Minister confirm that, apart from any negotiations with regard to a scheduled service—presumably by British Airways—consideration is being given to the possibility of charter services? In particular, will the Minister confirm that the introduction of a service by Sir Freddie Laker would probably be more appreciated by the People's Republic than by Members on the Labour Benches?

Mr. Tebbit

I hope that my hon. Friend does not expect me to judge the reactions of the People's Republic of China and those of Labour Members in order to discriminate between them. The Chinese authorities have been prepared for some time to consider applications for individual charter flights to and from the People's Republic. There has been full reciprocity, and I hope that it will continue.

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