HC Deb 10 May 1938 vol 335 cc1395-6
15. Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the growing concern among those engaged in the exporting trades of the country at the loss of markets to foreign competitors and to the increasing difficulties encountered in maintaining our export trade by the growth of impediments to trade such as quota restrictions, by the uncertainties created by currency fluctuations, and the impossibility of maintaining markets against the subsidised competition of foreign traders; and whether he can indicate whether the Government contemplate taking comprehensive measures to assist the export trade to overcome these difficulties?

Mr. Stanley

The problems referred to in this question are hardly susceptible of being dealt with within the compass of a Parliamentary answer. I am, however, well aware of the various restrictions and uncertainties which confront United Kingdom exporters at the present time, and His Majesty's Government constantly endeavour to remove or mitigate these difficulties. In particular, it is their policy to stimulate the export trade by appropriate methods, and especially by the negotiation of bilateral trade agreements.

Mr. Griffiths

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the export trade during the first five months of this year has met with continual new difficulties, that there is a serious decline in coal and tin exports particularly, and in all the export trades, and does he realise it is becoming a serious matter in the areas which are dependent on those trades and that it will eventually become a serious matter for the country; and will he say what he can do to assist?

Mr. Stanley

The hon. Member asked in his question for comprehensive measures. I do not believe that you can devise a comprehensive measure which will deal with the difficulties of various export trades under quite different conditions to various countries. It seems to me that the right method of approach is to try to deal with individual cases and individual countries.

Mr. Petherick

In view of the fact that we cannot force British goods into foreign markets, will my right hon. Friend consider replacing foreign markets by increasing the British home market by higher tariffs?