§ Mr. Lathan
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider the desirability of a special trade conference with representatives of the Dominions, with a view to paving the way for a trade agreement with the United States by the removal of such obstacles as arise from Empire trade agreements?
§ Mr. Bellenger
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to an official statement made on Wednesday last by the United States Under-Secretary of State to the effect that the United Kingdom and Dominions of the British Empire, in addition to Canada, are prepared to consider favourably the negotiation of a trade agreement with the United States; and whether he is prepared to make a statement on the matter?
I have seen the statement referred to in the Question of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellinger). As was stated in reply to a question put by the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) on 8th June, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have informed the representatives of the Dominion and Southern Rhodesian Governments, who were in London recently, of the informal and exploratory discussions with the United States Government, the object of these exploratory discussions being to determine whether a basis can be found 1071W for the negotiation of a trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States. The representatives of the Dominion and Southern Rhodesian Governments expressed full sympathy with the desire of the United Kingdom and the United States Governments to expand world trade. As a next step further discussions are taking place between representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States Governments, in the hope that the common desire for a practical step towards the promotion of trade may make it possible to find a basis for trade negotiations.