§ 3. Mr. Thorne
asked the President of the Board of Trade what were the total imports and exports in tons and value with Germany for the years ended March, 1936, 1937, and 1938?
Particulars of the aggregate tonnage of merchandise imported and exported are not available, as many commodities are recorded by units of quantity other than weight, while others are recorded by value only. With the hon. Member's permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement showing the value of merchandise imported and exported in trade with Germany during the periods specified.
§ Following is the statement:
Particulars of the value of the trade of the United Kingdom with each of 111 foreign countries and geographical areas during the first quarter of this year and last appear on pages 285 to 290 of the issue of the "Accounts relating to Trade and Navigation of the United Kingdom" for April. Of the 38 1801 foreign countries and geographical areas with which the aggregate value of our trade in either quarter amounted to more than £1, 000,000, there has been an increase this year in the excess of imports over exports in respect of 23.
Could my right hon. Friend make representations to these 23 countries pointing out that our adverse balance of trade with them is already too large?
§ 13. Mr. Hepworth
asked the President of the Board of Trade those countries with which there is an adverse balance of trade?
I would refer my hon. Friend to pages 184 to 193 of the issue of the "Accounts relating to Trade and Navigation" of the United Kingdom "for January last, from which it will be seen that of the 167 countries and geographical areas separately distinguished therein, there was an excess of imports over exports last year in respect of 94.
§ Mr. Louis Smith
Is not my right hon. Friend becoming somewhat alarmed at this rapidly growing adverse balance of trade; and will he give the matter very careful consideration?
As I said in reply to another supplementary question, we discussed that matter at some length in the Debate on Tuesday, and I then expressed my views on this increasing adverse balance.
§ 17. Lieut.-Colonel Wickham
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the adverse balance of trade with the Netherlands has increased in the first quarter of this year as compared with the first quarter of 1937 from £2,600,000 to £3,100,000; and whether he proposes to take any steps to adjust this balance?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second part, I would refer to the answer given on 23rd May to a similar question relating to Belgium by my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Sir R. Clarry).
§ Mr. Butcher
Will my right hon. Friend examine the situation with regard to the imports of milk on the one hand, and dairy products on the other; and does he realise the very great hardship inflicted on British producers in this connection?
§ 20. Mr. H. G. Williams
asked the President of the Board of Trade what increase occurred in the adverse balance of trade with all foreign countries other than the United States of America and the Argentine Republic in the first quarter of this year, as compared with the first quarter of last year?
The excess of imports over exports of merchandise in the trade of the United Kingdom with all foreign countries other than the United States and the Argentine Republic amounted to £40,738,000 in the first quarter of 1938, compared with £31,219,000 in the corresponding period of 1937, an increase of £ 9,519,000.
§ Mr. Paling
Do all these questions and admissions about the adverse balance of trade indicate that the protective duties put on by the Government have not protected us?