§ 6. Dr. Bray
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the voluntary textile agreements with Asian members of the Commonwealth remain in force, in view of his unilateral imposition of a quota restriction on imports from Pakistan; and what margin of difference separated his requested limitation of exports from the voluntary offer of Pakistan.
§ Dr. Bray
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the Press release by the Board of Trade announcing our unilateral action in rejecting Pakistan's offer was made on the very day that Britain was asking for the co-operation of Pakistan in meeting the Chinese attack on India? Is he further aware that this is bound to be seen as discrimination against Pakistan which is hardly calculated to secure that country's good will? In view of the immense international implications, will the Parliamentary Secretary put before the Government the need to meet Pakistan on this point?
§ Mr. Green
The hon. Member may recall that my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade stated publicly as long ago as 18th October that, if the need should arise, the Government would take whatever steps were necessary to ensure that the arrangements with the Commonwealth countries were maintained. Not only Pakistan is involved in this matter. It was with India and Hong Kong as well as Pakistan that levels were agreed in order to give help to the fairly hard-pressed Lancashire trade.
Mr. J. T. Price
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware, however, that whilst there is considerable good will throughout this House, and particularly on this side, to the utmost efforts being made to liberalise Commonwealth trade, this House still has a duty to our own native textile industry? As a Lancashire Member, is the hon. Gentleman aware that last year we had the biggest ever imports of textile goods from Pakistan? Whilst we quite understand the driving force behind those exports, at the same time the House of Commons has a primary duty to British citizens to give them reasonable protection for their livelihood.