HC Deb 15 November 1920 vol 134 cc1483-4
11. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether German goods for export are invoiced by order of the German Government in the currency of the purchasing country; on what rate of exchange is this calculated for goods to England; is this by arrangement with the allied Governments: and can he state the object of these orders?


I am not aware of any orders of the German Government to the effect stated in the question, but a requirement that sales should be effected in foreign currency is frequently, although not always, included in the general conditions governing the issue of export licences in particular trades which are framed by the semi-official bodies representing those trades. In the case of goods invoiced to this country in sterling, the rate of exchange is, I understand, that of the day. No question of arrangements with Allied Governments arises. When the practice is adopted, it is probably with the object of securing the best possible prices for exports and obtaining bills of exchange for financing imports.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is being done universally in Germany, and that the explanation given to our buyers is that it is by order of the German Government, and that it is being done at the request of the Allies; and is he aware that this means that we are not getting the benefit of the low exchange, in Germany?


I am afraid my information does not coincide with that of my hon. and gallant Friend. I am not aware that it is universal, and, in fact, my opinion is to the contrary. My information is also to the effect that it is not done by the German Government. I have no doubt German exporters are encouraged to sell at rates which would represent those in terms of the currency in the countries to which the exports are being sent. Obviously that would be a wise policy on their part.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman is looking into the matter, and can he assure us it is engaging the attention of his Department?


Of course, we are perfectly aware of all these things, but I do not know any means by which you can determine the price at which a German is prepared to sell his goods here.