HC Deb 06 March 1990 vol 168 c587W
Mr. Kirkhope

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the EC-USSR trade and economic co-operation agreement.

Mr. Ridley

Following discussions in the Community, this agreement was signed after the Foreign Affairs Council on 18 December. While welcoming the conclusion of this significant agreement the Government very much regret that they had not allowed enough time for the parliamentary scrutiny process to be completed before they felt bound to give their consent to the signature of this agreement. Unfortunately, since both the Soviets and our EC partners attached so much importance to the early signature of this agreement any attempt to delay it would not have been understood and could have put at risk any commercial benefit that the United Kingdom may stand to gain from the momentum and climate of good will which the agreement has generated.

I hope that the House will understand, therefore, why the Government agreed, exceptionally, to the signature of the agreement before the scrutiny process had been completed.

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