HC Deb 16 November 1937 vol 329 cc198-200
32. Sir W. Davison

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the total amount of imports from the Russian Soviet Union to Great Britain during the years 1934, 1935, and 1936; what are the total Soviet imports, apart from re-exports, from Great Britain during the same years; and also what were the total British imports from Russia during the first six months of 1937 and the total Russian imports from Great Britain, apart from re-exports, during the same period?

Mr. Stanley

My hon. Friend will find the desired particulars for the years 1934, 1935 and 1936 on page 184 of the issue of the "Accounts relating to Trade and Navigation of the United Kingdom "for January, 1937, and those for the first six months of 1937 on page 283 of the issue of these Accounts for July last.

Sir W. Davison

Do not those figures show that, apart from re-exports, the imports from Russia to this country are overwhelmingly greater than the exports from this country to Russia; and does not that show that the time has now arrived for a proper agreement to be entered into with Russia with regard to trade, which would take account of the private claims of British creditors?

Mr. Alexander

Is it not a fact that among the re-exports are large purchases, made by Russia in this country, of Colonial products, thus setting up a valuable market for us in the Colonies?

Mr. Petherick

Is my right hon. Friend, from an examination of the figures, really satisfied that the Anglo-Russian trade agreement is being strictly carried out by Russia?

Mr. Stanley

It is being strictly carried out in the letter, but, as I have pointed out, it would certainly be more satisfactory to this country if a larger proportion of genuine exports from this country were taken, and rather less re-exports.

Mr. Neil Maclean

Is it not the fact that orders for very large quantities of machinery, to the value of millions of pounds, have been placed in this country by Russia; and is not that satisfactory to the Government?

Mr. Stanley

Yes, Sir. I am sure the House will remember that the figures which have been published up to now do not yet show the results of the credit agreement with Russia, which only recently came to an end.