HC Deb 12 April 1920 vol 127 cc1365-6

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can state the value of the imports of manufactured goods from Germany for the past six months; whether any export tax is imposed by the German Government; and, if not, who gets the benefit of the exchange between the German and British currency?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Robert Home)

The imports into the United Kingdom during the period specified, of goods consigned from Germany and classed in the trade returns of this country as wholly or partly manufactured were valued at £2,432,202. So far as I know, the German Government does not levy any export tax. The question of the benefit from the depreciation of the exchange rate of the mark depends on the terms of purchase, for example, whether payment is stipulated for in sterling or in marks.


Is it not a fact that a very large proportion of this sum is in the form of a profit which is consequent on the exchange, and whether he is taking any step to intercept that profit for the benefit of the Treasury?


As I have stated in my reply, it depends entirely upon the terms of the contract. Whether in point of fact it arises from the depreciated mark or not, I cannot say. It is impossible, of course, to get the absolute details of the contracts which have been made.


Is there any reason why the consumers of this country should not get the benefit of the exchange in cheaper prices?

Lieut.-Colonel Sir F. HALL

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it advisable that the foreign Governments should pay something for the privilege of using the markets of this country?


Those are controversial topics which can be argued at the proper time.