HC Deb 13 February 1940 vol 357 cc552-3
3. Mr. Hamilton Kerr

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the urgent necessity of expanding our export trade, he will consider the desirability of introducing a system, either for providing a bonus on exports to certain markets, or differential exchange values in order to stimulate exports to certain territories?

Sir A. Duncan

I am well aware of the urgent necessity for expanding export trade and it will be one of the duties of the Export Council which has just been set up to make and consider suggestions as to the methods to be adopted.

Sir Frank Sanderson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a large volume of goods sold for export have been and still are being held up owing to the great difficulty in securing shipping freights, and will he confer with the Shipping Controller to see whether this serious position cannot be improved?

Sir A. Duncan

I shall be glad to do so.

8. Mr. Shinwell

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in his drive for increased exports, he proposes to co ordinate the activities of exporting firms; and whether he will create export boards?

Sir A. Duncan

One of the main functions of the Export Council will be to advise on, and to assist in, the co-ordination of the activities of firms engaged in the export trade. It is not possible at this stage to forecast what additional machinery may prove necessary.

Mr. Shinwell

Does not the right hon. Gentleman appreciate the vital necessity of some kind of Government backing, in particular financial backing, because of the difficulty experienced by exporters in finding a secure market, and does he not think that, ordinarily speaking, in many cases traders would prefer to trade at home and undertake Government orders without risk rather than accept the risks involved in export trade?

Sir A. Duncan

All these considerations are present to our minds and they represent real obstacles which must be overcome.

Mr. Levy

Is not my right hon. Friend of the opinion that it will be a good thing to have close co-operation between the import boards and export boards in order to see that facilities are granted for export?