HC Deb 18 October 1949 vol 468 cc7-8W
71. Mr. Platts-Mills

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the present position regarding the discussions in connection with the extension of the Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement of 1947; and if he is satisfied that all possible steps are being taken to conclude this agreement as soon as possible.

Mr. Bottomley

I have had over the past few months a number of meetings about Anglo-Soviet trade with Mr. Manzhulo of the Soviet Trade Delegation. A contract for 100,000 standards of softwood from the U.S.S.R. and the Soviet zone of Germany was signed in August and in September a contract for one million tons of coarse grains from the U.S.S.R. came into operation; on 13th September a contract for certain quantities of plywood was signed and it is expected that arrangements can be made for the supply of further commodities from the U.S.S.R. to the United Kingdom. The Soviet authorities are expected to place additional orders in the United Kingdom for engineering goods and other products and to continue to buy raw materials in the sterling area. Though it has not so far been found possible to agree on certain basic conditions for a formal trade agreement, I have informed Mr. Manzhulo of the Soviet Trade Delegation that His Majesty's Government welcome the prospect of these purchases and attach importance to the continuance of trade in the interests of both parties.

82. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the President of the Board of Trade what offers have been made in any of the discussions with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Trade representatives for the purchase of merchant shipping from this country.

Mr. Bottomley

There has been no reference by the Russians in the discussions which I have had this year with the Soviet Trade Delegation to the question of supplying ships. It is open to the Soviet Trade Delegation to discuss possible orders direct with the shipbuilders.

84. Mr. Eccles

asked the President of the Board of Trade in what manner is payment to be made for the Russian grain to be imported under the recent agreement; and in particular to what extent His Majesty's Government have promised facilities for the export of any British goods.

Mr. Bottomley

The Russian grain contract which entered into force on 1st September was concluded between the Ministry of Food on the one hand andExportkhleb on the other. Payment is to be made in sterling which the Russians are free to spend in the United Kingdom or in other parts of the sterling area.