HC Deb 16 December 1952 vol 509 c151W
63. Mr. Nally

asked the President of the Board of Trade what answer he has given, or proposes to give, to the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation on the subject of its request that the United Kingdom should relax its import restrictions, with particular regard to French and Italian trade.

Mr. Mackeson

Her Majesty's Government were already aware, when they fixed the import quotas for the first half of 1953, of the reports which led to the official request to which the hon. Member refers. They made it known at the time to the Organisation that these quotas would provide in broad terms for nearly 20 per cent. more new business than did the present quotas and that some of the main increases of quotas were designed to benefit primarily France and Italy. It was, however, made clear that, in spite of recent current surpluses in the European Payments Union, the United Kingdom was still in heavy deficit with the Union and that any more general relaxation of restrictions would be premature.