HC Deb 28 July 1903 vol 126 cc533-4
COLONEL SADLER (Middlesbrough)

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been directed to the recently published statistics showing that in the past decade British imports into Germany have decreased 10,400,000 marks annually, whilst the exports from Germany to Great Britain have increased by 325,500,000 marks per annum, or 50 per cent.; and, if so, whether he will renew his remonstrances against the proposed new German tariff, which increases the duties on many o the manufactured articles sent from this country to Germany.

(Answered by Mr. Gerald Balfour.) The figures quoted appear to be taken from the Imperial German Returns, which show, not the British goods imported into Germany, but the total imports into Germany from the United Kingdom, including foreign goods re-exported and also including bullion and specie. Moreover, the decrease and in; crease quoted are not annual, as stated, but refer to a ten-year period If merchandise only be included, the same Returns show that imports of goods from the United Kingdom into Germany, increased by 9,720,000:narks in place of the decrease stated in the Question. An examination of the Trade Accounts of the United Kingdom shows that there was a very much larger increase in the exports of British produce into Germany, which was largely set off by a decline in the re-exports of foreign and colonial goods. I give the figures for Germany, Holland, and Belgium together, in view of the difficulty of identifying the trade which passes through Belgian and Dutch ports. Increase or decrease in exports from the United Kingdom to Germany, Holland, and Belgium, between 1892 and 1902, as shown in United Kingdom Accounts: British produce (increase), £6,339,000; re-exports of foreign and colonial produce (decrease), £5,639,000; net increase, £700,000 The figures in the United Kingdom and German Accounts do not agree exactly, for reasons explained in my reply to the hon. Member for Merthyr on the 20th instant.† The new German tariff is being carefully watched. As the hon. and gallant Member is aware, the tariff is not at present applicable to British goods, and is subject to modification as the result of negotiations for commercial treaties before it is put into operation.