HC Deb 20 April 1950 vol 474 cc294-5
8. Mr. Watkinson

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the dollar content of exports to dollar areas.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I regret that the information asked for is not available. The total import content of our exports as a whole has been estimated at about one-fifth and the value of dollar materials embodied in our total exports is probably not more than about 5 per cent. of their value. While no precise figure can be given of the dollar content of our dollar exports, the major part of these exports can also be said to consist of non-dollar materials and resources.

9. Mr. Watkinson

asked the President of the Board of Trade when it is anticipated that United Kingdom exports to the dollar area will reach the pre-devaluation level in value.

Mr. H. Wilson

Exports of United Kingdom goods to the dollar area in terms of United States dollars have already passed the level prevailing immediately prior to devaluation. I hope, however, to have the opportunity of making a fuller statement on the progress of dollar exports this evening.

Mr. Watkinson

May I draw the attention of the Minister to the answer he gave me just before the Recess, when he said that exports to the dollar area averaged 48.2 million dollars in the five months October, 1949, to February, 1950, compared with 58.2 million dollars in the corresponding period of 1948–49? I am sure all my hon. Friends on this side of the House will be delighted if the position has improved so much in such a short time.

Mr. Wilson

I am not sure what question the hon. Gentleman is putting. The period covered by his statement ended. I think, in February, 1949, and the statement I have just made referred to the immediate pre-devaluation position.

Mr. Osborne

Would the Minister tell us whether, since devaluation, sterling selling prices in the dollar area have improved considerably, or have we to export about 40 per cent. more in volume to secure the same return?

Mr. Wilson

It varies from product to product. In some cases there has been no reduction in dollar selling prices. In other cases a fall in prices has been to the full extent of devaluation. On average I should say it is somewhere about half and half.