HC Deb 10 May 1951 vol 487 cc2143-5
29. Mr. Blackburn

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the total estimated value in pounds sterling of all goods supplied to China by the United Kingdom and the Colonies during the first nine months after the commencement of the Korean war.

Sir H. Shawcross

United Kingdom exports to China during the nine months July, 1950, to March, 1951, inclusive were approximately £4 million. Exports in the same period from Hong Kong to China were £103 million; exports from July, 1950, to February, 1951, from Malaya to China were £20.5 million; exports from other colonial territories to China were negligible.

Mr. Blackburn

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman now be kind enough to withdraw his denial of the statement I made earlier this week that the exports from this country and the Colonies to China were over £100 million? Is he aware that the figures were very much larger than the ones which he has given because of the indirect exports which have gone to China? Will he now withdraw his denial?

Mr. Bossom

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman say if the figures he has given include £1 million worth of rubber which left Singapore for Hong Kong and Canton on 10th May this year?

Sir H. Shawcross

I am not aware of £1 million worth of rubber leaving Hong Kong on 10th May, but I will look into the matter. I will look into the matter, but the figures I have given do not purport to cover today's date.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Has my right hon. and learned Friend any comparable figures to show how much was exported to China from Japan and the U.S.A. during the same period?

Sir H. Shawcross

That is another question.

Mr. Blackburn

When the right hon. and learned Gentleman has made a misstatement of fact to the House, which is recorded in the OFFICIAL REPORT and in the newspapers, does he not think that when it is proved—and he has admitted it—to be wrong he ought at least to apologise to the House?

31. Major Legge-Bourke

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many tons of tinplate have been exported to China in the last three years; how many tons have returned to the United Kingdom in the form of containers of other imports; and if, in view of the shortage in the home fruit and vegetable canning industry, he will stop all further exports of tinplate to countries engaged in hostilities against Britain and her Allies.

Sir H. Shawcross

United Kingdom exports of tinplate to China were:

1948 2,200
1949 500
1950 1,600
1951 (1st quarter) 600
I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food that he is satisfied that the tonnage of tinplate required to pack frozen eggs and liquid eggs and egg products imported into this country from China is not less than the tonnage of tin-plate exported to China for that purpose, The tonnage of tinplate involved is not large, and I do not in present circumstances feel that this trade should be stopped.

Major Legge-Bourke

While it cannot be much, would the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that the amounts which he has given for the last three years would have insured at least, had they been kept in this country, that the home horticulture industry would not have wasted a great deal of its crops, as it had to do, entirely owing to the shortage of tinplate.