§ Mr. Hamilton Kerr
asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the heavy diminution in the export of cotton textiles to China; and what steps are being taken by the Government to ensure that, whatever the result of the hostilities between China and Japan, the British export trade in textiles shall be permitted without any unfair discrimination?
§ Mr. Butler
The answer to the first part of the question, so far as United Kingdom cotton textiles are concerned, is in the affirmative, though I should add that during the first nine months of this year—the period covered by the latest available statistics—the decline in exports of cotton piece goods shown as consigned to China as compared with the corresponding periods of 1936 and 1937 has been more than counterbalanced by increased exports to Hong Kong.
With regard to the second part of the question, His Majesty's Government will watch the situation closely with a view to taking any appropriate steps that may at any time be called for in order to protect this country's export trade to China, whether in textiles or in other commodities.381W
§ Mr. McEntee
asked the Prime Minister what steps are being taken to safeguard British trade with China and the continuance of the open door in China; and if the Government is consulting with America, France, and Russia on this subject?
§ Mr. Butler
Representations have been made to the Government concerned whenever British interests in China have been damaged or threatened. His Majesty's Government have, moreover, kept in close touch with other Governments whose interests have been or might be similarly affected.