HC Deb 09 May 1935 vol 301 c1123

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the reduction of Russian purchases of machinery from this country from the value of £6,204,791 in 1932 to £1,011,981 in 1934; whether he can state the figure for the period since the last trade treaty with Russia; whether it is in accordance with the provisions thereof; and whether, in view of the general adverse balance of Russian trade with this country, he proposes to take any steps in the matter?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

I am aware that, as compared with the year 1932, there was in 1934 a considerable reduction in the value of the exports of machinery and parts from the United Kingdom to Russia, but I would point out that in 1932 the total Russian imports of this class of goods were exceptionally high. The Temporary Commercial Agreement with the Soviet Government came into force on 21st March, 1934, and the value of our exports of machinery and parts to the Soviet Union in the year ended 31st March, 1935, was £1,135,935. In reply to the last part of the question, the general obligations of the Soviet Government under the Agreement are being fulfilled.


Can my hon. and gallant Friend say what proportion of our exports to Russia is in fact re-exports?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

I could not give the exact figures without notice, but the re-export trade is not without value, and the commodities come largely from the Empire. I should add, however, that it has been indicated in the appropriate quarters that we should wish to see a better proportion of domestic exports.


Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman' say what approximately was the value of the orders given by Soviet Russia between March, 1934, and March, 1935?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

I should require notice of that question, and even with notice it would only be an approximate figure, because, as I have said before, a return is not kept of all orders placed in this country.