HC Deb 11 November 1947 vol 444 cc51-2W
Mr. Hale

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that Greece has immediately available a large exportable surplus of tobacco, olive oil and dried fruits and needs substantial quantities of textiles, pottery and other British manufactured goods; and whether he will at once open negotiations for a further trade agreement.

Mr. H. Wilson

United Kingdom stocks of Greek tobacco are at present adequate to meet demand, but if manufacturers wish to purchase further quantities sympathetic consideration will be given to their requests for import licences; on account of its high price, olive oil is at present imported for medicinal use only, and there are adequate stocks for this purpose, but the Greek Government have been informed that if supplies can be offered at reasonable price, His Majesty's Government will consider permitting imports for general consumption; contracts for the purchase of 40,000 tons of dried fruits (30,000 tons of currants and 10,000 tons of sultanas) have recently been concluded, and the Greek Government have been informed that if further quantities can be offered at the same price His Majesty's Government is willing to purchase. With regard to exports to Greece, there is a wide demand for the type of goods Greece requires and His Majesty's Government could not agree in the present financial position of this country to allocate specified quantities of these supplies to that market. In these circumstances I do not think it would be appropriate to open negotiations for a trade agreement at the present time.