HC Deb 23 July 1935 vol 304 cc1639-40

asked the President of the Board of Trade the total imports from Russia into Great Britain since the signing of the temporary trade agreement; and what are the total exports of United Kingdom goods to Russia during the same period?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

The temporary commercial agreement with the Soviet Union, although signed on 16th February, 1934, took effect from the 1st January, 1934. During the year 1934 the total declared value of merchandise imported into the United Kingdom and consigned from the Soviet Union amounted to £17,277,000 and of exports of United Kingdom goods consigned to the Soviet Union to £3,657,000. The corresponding figures for January to May, 1935, were £4,389,000 for imports and £1,410,000 for exports of United Kingdom goods. It should be borne in mind that the Agreement provides for certain prescribed balances of payments during calendar years and is not, therefore, confined to merchandise only. Re-exports from the United Kingdom to the Soviet Union are taken into account. The ratio of Russian payments to proceeds for 1934 was 1: 1.05, as against the ratio of 1: 1.7 prescribed in the agreement.


Having regard to the large discrepancy between the figures 1.7 and 1.1 and £12,000,000 and £3,000,000, can the right hon. Gentleman say the amount of the re-exports of primary products which pass through this country in order to arrive at the 1.7 to 1 percentage?


It is not only the re-exports that are included in this total, but certain prescribed balances of payments which cover a very wide field. If the hon. Member would like the re-exports given separately, I shall be glad to consider what can be done.


Can my right hon. Friend say whether the agreement is working out according to expectations?


So far, it has worked out rather better.