HC Deb 23 April 1951 vol 487 cc19-22W
126. Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to be able to report the progress being made in the Washington talks on the allocation of raw materials.

Mr. Jay

I give below the latest statement about the work of the Commodity Committees set up in Washington, which was issued by the International Materials Conference on 8th April.

Following is the statement:

Copper-Zinc-Lead Committee:

The Copper-Zinc-Lead Committee has agreed upon the questionnaire to be used to secure requirements and production estimates for 1951 and 1952. Copies have been furnished to all members of the committee for transmittal to their Governments, and letters to all non-member governments which have a significant interest either as producers or consumers were dispatched on 28th March requesting that they supply the date covered by the questionnaire. The questionnaire asks for import and export figures, as well as statements of restrictive controls in effect or contemplated and statements of the possibilities and requirements for increasing production. Replies to the questionnaire are being requested by not later than 23rd April. The Committee hopes to have them assembled, tabulated and reviewed by early May.

The Committee met last Friday to complete a preliminary review of the 1951 estimate of requirements based upon information furnished by its members during the week of 2nd April. Such a preliminary review will indicate the probable size and nature of the anticipated deficit in supplies. However, no formal recommendation will be developed by the Committee until it has examined the replies to the questionnaire. The Committee is limiting its current analysis to primary metals but has agreed to examine requirements for semi-fabricated products later. It recognises the importance of this aspect of the problem to the countries that import such products and the need to develop such methods for insuring equitable treatment to consuming countries as well as producing countries in the event of a deficit in supplies.

Sulphur Committee:

The Sulphur Committee has discussed statements submitted by representatives regarding requirements and the steps taken or contemplated to expand production, conserve sulphur, and substitute other materials. A Sub-Committee is now in the process of preparing a first report to accompany preliminary tables of statistics. This report will cover methods of expanding production of sulphur and sulphur-bearing materials, conservation of sulphur and substitution of sulphur and controls regarding the utilisation of sulphur. Also, the Committee is studying drafts of letters and questionnaires prepared by the Sub-Committee on Statistics which call for statistical data and information relating to sulphur and sulphur-bearing materials from member and non-member countries.

Cotton-Cotton Linters Committee:

This Committee recessed on 15th March pending the preparation of certain statistical tables required to assess the world situation and to permit the formulation of recommendations. Drafting of a cotton questionnaire designed to develop the information requested by the Committee was completed during the week of 18th March. In the past week forms have been processed for distribution to governments. Preparation of forms for a linters questionnaire will follow promptly. The Committee has tentatively set 11th June as the date for reconvening.

Tungsten-Molybdenum Committee:

The Tungsten-Molybdenum Committee has been occupied with the gathering of statistics of production and consumption. Questionnaires have been issued to member governments and certain non-member governments, requesting them to furnish particulars both on production and consumption in past years and on the estimates for 1951 and 1952. When the Full Committee again meets it will give consideration to information assembled by its Sub-committee on Statistics. It will consider the problem as a whole with special reference to the supply position of 1951.

Manganese-Nickel-Cobalt Committee:

Sub-committees on Statistics have compiled available data on production, movements and consumption of manganese, nickel and cobalt in the calendar years 1948, 1949 and 1950, also in 1938 for the first material, and 1943 for the latter ones. The Sub-committees have drafted a letter to be sent to governments indicating what additional information is desired from them concerning estimates for 1951 and 1952 and the measures taken or contemplated to increase production, restrict consumption and economise in the use of the materials. The Full Committee met last Friday to adopt its Permanent Rules or Procedure and examine the reports of the Statistical Sub-committees.

Wool Committee:

The Wool Committee convened for the first time only last Monday, 2nd April. The heads of the delegation have met several times since to set up their order of business. A Sub-committee on Statistics is also meeting. This Committee has developed its work rapidly, largely due to the work which has already been done by other international conferences covering this field.

Pulp-Paper Committee:

All replies to invitations sent out have not yet been received. Announcement as to the composition and date of initial meeting of this Committee will be announced in the very near future.

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