§ 6. Mr. Gibson-Watt
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consultations he had with the British forestry industry, before going to Geneva, about proposed changes in the levels of duties on imports of timber which compete with the home product.
§ Mr. Soames
None, Sir; but before the G.A.T.T. meeting in Geneva, discussions took place between representatives of the Forestry Commission, the Board of Trade, the Forestry Committee of 428 Great Britain and the Federated Home Timber Associations, at which the views of the forestry industry were taken into account.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I am very glad to hear my right hon. Friend say that there was adequate consultation between the proper interests and the Ministries concerned. Will he bear in mind that the problem of standing hard woods can be particularly affected by steps of this sort and that it is not sufficient just to consult the Forestry Commission on matters of this sort simply because the other half of the industry happens to own about 90 per cent. of the matured timber? Although relations between both the private side and the State side of the forestry industry are of the highest order, will my right hon. Friend continue to ensure that private interests have then-say when matters of this sort are considered?
§ Mr. Soames
I assure my hon. Friend that I am well aware of the need for this. As I said in my Answer, both the Forestry Committee of Great Britain and the Federated Home Timber Associations, with private interests, were represented at these meetings.