HC Deb 27 November 1978 vol 959 cc25-6
21. Mr. Tebbit

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he has received any requests from the United States Government for any amendments to the Bermuda agreement on air services.

Mr. Clinton Davis

The United States has not made any specific requests for amendments to the Bermuda 2 air services agreement. However, during air service talks in Washington earlier this month it was agreed, in accordance with annex 4 of the agreement, to continue negotiations with a view to concluding a more liberal agreement for cargo services. Further talks on this subject have been arranged for mid-December in London.

Mr. Tebbit

Apart from the question of cargo services, has the Minister noticed the considerable criticism which has emanated from United States Government-inspired sources of the Bermuda 2 agreement? Are the Government still completely wedded to their policies of limiting the number of United States"gateway"cities, and of single designation, except for a few specific routes, for British carriers?

Mr. Davis

I am not unaware of American criticisms about Bermuda 2, which goes to show that, by and large, we probably got a pretty good deal. Basically, what the deal has achieved is to give British carriers added opportunities. I am most anxious to maintain this. Nothing is totally immutable. We shall listen to reasonable criticism and try to reach reasonable accords. The basic need to protect the interests of British carriers is paramount.