HC Deb 08 December 1953 vol 521 cc1776-7
4 and 5. Mr. George Craddock

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what steps he proposes to take to increase exports, in view of the loss of vital markets outside the dollar area to Germany, the United States of America and Japan;

(2) in view of the fact that world exports have been rising during the past two years and the volume of British exports has been falling, if he will state his proposals to redress this unfavourable balance.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

It is not possible within the compass of an answer to a Parliamentary Question to detail the steps which Her Majesty's Government have taken and are taking to facilitate exports. The most essential condition, however, for a healthy export trade is a stable and balanced economy at home, and that the Government have achieved. Since the first quarter this year, the volume of our exports has been rising.

Mr. Craddock

Is it not a little odd that our exports should be falling at the same time as world exports are continuing to rise, and does not the right hon. Gentleman think that increased trade with the East would go far to remove this unfavourable balance?

Mr. Thorneycroft

There are other questions on the Paper dealing with East-West trade. Our exports are rising, not falling. They are not rising as fast as all of us would wish, but they are still rising.

Mr. Jay

Will the President of the Board of Trade suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that his policy of continuously raising food prices is not very helpful in keeping down export costs?

Mr. Thorneycroft

That is a much wider question that hardly arises on this one.

Mr. Hirst

Is my right hon. Friend aware that one of the factors in question consists of the favourable credit facilities being granted by some of those countries, and will he try to get some agreement on the matter or, failing that, extend the present functions and limits of the Export Credit Guarantee Department?

Mr. Thorneycroft

There are so many factors affecting our export trade that it is difficult to deal with them in an answer to one Question.

Mr. Bottomley

Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is no difference between the parties as to the need for exports, and in view of the admission made by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when he went to Latin-America, can we have any information as to whether trade has been pushed ahead there?

Mr. Thorneycroft

That is another question.

Mr. Bottomley

But I have asked it several times before.