HC Deb 23 May 1950 vol 475 cc1852-4
75. Mr. Janner

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the results of the British Industries Fair, so far as overseas trade is concerned; whether he will give the amount of orders received; and whether he is satisfied that such orders can be dealt with and goods delivered within a period satisfactory to the buyers.

73 and 74. Wing-Commander Hulbert

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what was the estimated value of orders placed by overseas buyers at the British Industries Fair, 1950;

(2) how many visitors from abroad attended the British Industries Fair in London and Birmingham; and what the total attendance was.

Mr. Bottomley

As only a small proportion of business negotiations arising out of the Fair can be concluded before it closes it is not possible to assess the actual value of business done; moreover manufacturers are not under any obligation to make reports to the organisers. There is, however, strong evidence that this year's Fair showed a marked advance in the volume and the nature of export enquiries especially from hard currency markets, and there was a notable increase in the number of firm orders placed. We have every confidence that manufacturers will not have accepted orders which they will be unable to fulfil within the stipulated time, and we shall of course always be ready to look into cases where special difficulties arise.

The number of overseas visitors (individually counted) in London and Birmingham totalled 19,005 compared with 17,061 in 1949, establishing a new record for the Fair. Home trade visitors numbered 113,102 compared with 121,555.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Is the hon. Gentleman aware mat, at any rate in the Birmingham section of the fair, foreign buyers this year were increasingly selective in the placing of orders?

Mr. Bottomley

I think that is a very good thing. Once they select the goods and recognise the quality and price are right, we hope they will continue to trade.

Mr. Lloyd

Is the Minister aware that he has not understood the implication of my Question, which is that we are reaching a position when we have to be more competitive with regard to price and quality?

Mr. Bottomley

I am quite sure that industry understands that as well as the Government does.