HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc21-2W
Mr. Buck

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the recent joint declaration by the United States of America and the European Economic Community on world trade negotiations.

Mr. Noble

We welcome this agreement, which demonstrates the spirit of co-operation in which the United States and the Community are approaching the current problems of world trade. We were fully consulted during the course of the discussions. We support the objective of initiating negotiations in 1973 within the framework of G.A.T.T. for the further liberalisation of world trade, covering agricultural as well as industrial trade. We intend fully to associate ourselves with the Community in the Declaration which has now been communicated to the G.A.T.T. We hope that other major trading countries will also associate themselves with it.

The full text of the Declaration is as follows: Within the framework of their negotiations, the United States and the European Community have agreed to communicate the following Declaration to the Director General of the G.A.T.T. for transmittal to the Contract- ing Parties. Other Contracting Parties are invited to associate themselves with the Declaration to the extent and at the moment they would deem appropriate. The United States and the Community recognise the need for proceeding with a comprehensive review of international economic relations with a view to negotiating improvements in the light of structural changes which have taken place in recent years. The review shall cover inter alia all elements of trade, including measures which impede or distort agricultural, raw material and industrial trade. Special attention shall be given to the problems of developing countries. The United States and the Community undertake to initiate and actively support multilateral and comprehensive negotiations in the framework of G.A.T.T. beginning in 1973 (subject to such internal authorisation as may be required) with a view to the expansion and the ever greater liberalisation of world trade and improvement in the standard of living of the people of the world, aims which can be achieved inter alia through the progressive dismantling of obstacles to trade, and the improvement of the international framework for the conduct of world trade. The Community states that in appropriate cases the conclusion of international commodity agreements are also one of the means to achieve these aims. The United States states that such agreements do not offer a useful approach to the achievement of these aims. The negotiations shall be conducted on the basis of mutual advantage and mutual commitment with overall reciprocity, and shall cover agricultural as well as industrial trade. The negotiations should involve active participation of as many countries as possible. The United States and the Community agree to initiate and support in 1972 an analysis and evaluation in the G.A.T.T. of alternative techniques and modalities for multilateral negotiations of long-term problems affecting all elements of world trade. The United States and the Community will seek to utilise every opportunity in the G.A.T.T. for the settlement of particular trade problems, the removal of which would lessen current frictions, and will strive for further progress with respect to those matters now being discussed in the G.A.T.T. Committee on Trade in Industrial Products and G.A.T.T. Agriculture Committee. They agree that progress in G.A.T.T. in solving specific problems in 1972 could facilitate the way in the G.A.T.T. for a new major initiative for dealing with longer term trade problems.