HC Deb 12 November 1936 vol 317 cc1068-9W

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can make any statement on the proposal of the Canadian Government to import anthracite coal from Russia in place of Welsh anthracite coal; and what steps he has taken to protect the interests of the anthracite industry in this country?


On the 27th February, 1931, the Canadian Government imposed an embargo on the importation into Canada of certain Russian products, including coal, which was followed by a retaliatory Russian embargo on all imports from Canada.

In October, 1935, when the present Government took office in Canada, it was intimated to His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom that the removal of this embargo was in contemplation. The Canadian Government, however, deferred further action in the matter until they had an opportunity of discussing with His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom the general question of the United Kingdom's trade with Canada. These discussions took place during the recent visit of Canadian Ministers to this country, and United Kingdom Ministers then impressed upon the Canadian Ministers the great importance which they attached to the maintenance of the United Kingdom trade in anthracite to Canada. The Canadian Ministers explained that whilst they appreciated the difficulties of our position and were anxious to encourage our trade, considerations of general policy made it impossible for them to retain as an instrument of commercial policy a discriminatory embargo against imports from a single country with whom all other countries had re-established normal commercial relations.

As a result of discussions between the Canadian Government and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, both embargoes were removed and the Soviet authorities announced that any exports of anthracite from Russia to Canada would be subject to the following conditions:

  1. 1. The exports of anthracite to Canada from the U.S.S.R. will not exceed 250,000 metric tons in any one year.
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  3. 2. The coal will be offered for sale at competitive prices and will not be dumped.
  4. 3. Sales will not be confined to any single agency, but effected through as many importers as can handle them efficiently.
  5. 4. The coal will not be offered for consumption in the Maritime Provinces.

The Canadian Government have expressed the hope that postponement of the removal of the embargo for nearly 12 months and the conditions on the exports of Russian coal above referred to will be recognised as substantially safeguarding the position of South Wales anthracite exports to Canada.