§ Mr. Blaker
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has agreed in the Council of the EEC that all trade negotiations with Eastern bloc countries will, in future, be undertaken not by individual member countries but by the Commission of the EEC; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Deakins
Under the terms of a Council Decision (69/494/EEC) of 16th December 1969, which remains valid, no member State was permitted to negotiate with third countries on matters of commercial policy after 31st December 1972. On 7th May 1974 the Council discussed relations with the State trading countries and confirmed that at the request of a State trading country the Community was prepared to enter into negotiations with it. Decision 69/494/EEC provides that any such negotiations shall be conducted by the Commission in consultation with the Council and within the framework of such directives as the Council may issue to it.