HC Deb 21 January 1981 vol 997 cc259-60
33. Mr. Hal Miller

asked the Lord Privy Seal what discussion there has been amongst Foreign Ministers of the European Economic Community on Community relations with Japan.

Sir Ian Gilmour

The Community's relations with Japan were most recently discussed by the Council of Ministers on 25 November 1980. The Council adopted a declaration calling for a wide-ranging dialogue between the European Community and Japan, but making it clear that in order to promote such a dialogue there should first be effective moderation in Japanese exports and a clear commitment by the Japanese Government to a substantial and early increase in imports of Community products.

Mr. Miller

In view of the importance of our trading relationships with Japan, will my right hon. Friend report to the house on the outcome of the dialogue recently held by Sir Roy Denman under that directive? Will he ensure that if the process of that dialogue was perhaps not as harmonious as it might have been, care is taken on future occasions so that we do not lose valuable ground?

Sir Ian Gilmour

We do not want to lose any valuable ground. My hon. Friend will appreciate that I should not comment or report on particular meetings between officials of the Community and other countries. We hope that the Japanese will reply fairly soon to what was said in the autumn, and we look forward to a satisfactory dialogue with them.

Mr. Douglas

Will the Lord Privy Seal assure the House that the Community will act as a community in relation to Japan, and that Japan will not pick off individual nation States? Will the Community hold a concerted policy on microelectronics and on energy in particular?

Sir Ian Gilmour

That will be discussed. I agree that when the Community acts as a community it has greater strength. However, I have already made it clear that Britain could not accept any arrangements that were less effective than those already in our possession.