HC Deb 12 February 1941 vol 368 c1351
40. Mr. Hannah

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether he will take appropriate steps to ascertain the kind of British goods most likely to be in demand in such countries as China and Abyssinia after the war with a view to keeping our industries busy, particularly in different branches of heavy engineering?

Mr. Harcourt Johnstone (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)

Commercial diplomatic officers are very fully occupied with special duties arising out of the war. They have, however, received instructions to report upon major constructional works suspended owing to the war. In view of the uncertainty which must exist as to the purchasing power and productive capacity in different parts of the world when the war ends, no purpose would be served in trying to estimate what might then be the demand for consumer goods in such countries as my hon. Friend has in mind.

Mr. Hannah

May I take it that the Government have fully in mind the supreme need for keeping our heavy industries busy after the war?

Mr. Johnstone

Oh, yes.

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