§ 1.47 p.m.
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Rochester and Chatham)
The subject matter of my Adjournment Debate is really a continuation of the economic debate which we had earlier in the week. What the subject of trade with Canada does is, I think, to stress its importance as a means of overcoming our economic difficulties. Canada belongs to the dollar area group of countries; we are the leaders of the sterling area countries. Because of the disequilibrium in the dollar position we can, together, do something to overcome those difficulties—our economies are complementary.
It is very disturbing to find that trade with Canada is on the decline. The Canadians themselves must be disturbed, because last year they fell from third position to fourth of the largest trading nations in the world. As we know, our own country has declined in relative importance as a market for Canadian exports, and certainly as a source of supply of Canadian imports and capital goods. We are all compelled to recognise that gone are the days of the triangular pattern of trade, when the United States of America bought wool, tin, rubber and jute from the sterling area and we spent in Canada the dollars so earned.
We find now that there are substitutes or alternative markets. Man-made fibres are taking the place of natural wool; synthetic rubber is replacing the natural product, and America is buying Bolivian tin and not so much from Malaya. There is no doubt that things are changing, and that, however much we may desire to return to that triangular pattern, we may find it difficult to do so.
We must also recognise that the United States of America have tremendous advantages in trading with Canada—their geographical position and their financial and business ties—but we should not let that be the determining factor. Many of those things have presented difficulties before, but we have managed to overcome them. If we take the pre-war triangular pattern of trade, Canadian exports to the United Kingdom in the period 1920 to 1939 averaged 35.8 per cent. and Canadian imports from the United 1389 Kingdom in the same period averaged 17.5 per cent., the difference being met by the dollars earned in the way I outlined as a result of the triangular pattern of trade.
After the war we had no alternative but to get from Canada goods not available elsewhere. In 1946, we imported from Canada 25.8 per cent. of the goods. Because we were not able to balance our trade, the Government of the day had to decide to cut Canadian imports and, by 1950, they had been cut to 15 per cent., but since 1950 imports have been rising, I think about 1 per cent. on an average each year. That would not be so bad if we were exporting more to Canada, but the figures show that it is otherwise. Whereas exports to Canada in 1946 were 7.6 per cent., and by energetic export drives were pushed up to 12.7 per cent. in 1950, last year the figure fell to 9.6 per cent.
Facing that situation, which puts us into greater difficulties and, in my view, puts the Canadians into difficulties—we are falling far short of the average share of the Canadian market compared with pre-war. I think we are entitled to ask, "Are we doing enough?" Successive Governments, including the present, have tried to make trading conditions easier. There were the Export Guarantees Acts of 1949 and 1952, and by credit facilities and other kinds of help we did what we could to encourage other exporters to the Canadian market and to help those exporters already in that market to increase their level of exports.
I think we are entitled to ask whether industry has responded. Some sections of industry have done a good job, including the electrical industry and the motor vehicle industry. I always have some reservations about the motor industry. The Minister will be aware that on occasion I have expressed the view that by pushing the sale of cars into America we would have a short-term market, but, that, if ever there were a recession in the United States, the Americans would do one of two things. Either they would not buy a second car, a smaller car to help them out for the time being, or, if they found the smaller car more popular, American manufacturers would soon tool up and go over to a manufacture which would compete with us.
That is not the position in Canada, where there is a long-term market. The 1390 emphasis should be on motor car exports to Canada, and with all the things the motor industry very efficiently carries out we should make sure that, having been established in that market, we keep there. I make the suggestion particularly in reference to Canada because on long-term trade it is the best investment, and also in view of the economic debate we have had and because of the need to avoid importing steel which, in some cases, costs dollars. We do not want to waste steel on a market which would not be there for a long time to come.
In reference to trade generally, I had the experience in April of lunching with a Canadian business team over here. The experience was revealing in many ways. Sitting next to me was a Canadian, who asked for a glass of cider. It was most interesting that he should want cider. He said, "In our local stores we had some cider from the United Kingdom. I tried it and found it very good. All my friends liked it, but we could not get any more." When anyone has shown sufficient enterprise to get into a market like that and then to lose the market, it seems to be falling short of the standards required if we are to push trade in that country.
Another comment made at the lunch was that the Canadians would like nothing more than to have our soft fruits, such as raspberries and strawberries, imported by deep-freezing methods. Having in mind that often the Government are criticised for not putting on import restrictions here, that is a way in which we could help our soft fruit industry by encouraging it to export to Canada.
These Canadians also took the opportunity of telling me that Canada is still primarily a food producing country. They said that food would be one of the most important items of production. They recognised that world population was growing and standards of living were higher. Therefore, food in particular would be required in increasing amounts. They said that in this respect we had not tackled their agricultural markets and suggested that we should not think only of tractors, although by all means we should push them, but also of other aids, equipment and mechanical devices for agriculture, mentioning such things as machines for killing weeds and pests. The Canadians would like to see 1391 British products on their farms and also wanted prefabricated storage units, because British units of that kind could compete with the rest of the world. I know of one firm which is doing fairly well in that respect.
The Canadians have a great building programme and complained that it was impossible to buy such accessories as baths, basins and household fittings because each firm to which they went replied that the order books were full. However full order books might be, we ought to impress upon industry that trade with Canada is vital. The Canadians made the familiar cry for steel. I am bound to ask whether British firms tender. Just recently the Germans got the tender for the great St. Lawrence Waterway project, but British steel is lower in price. Does the Board of Trade put a restriction on the steel producers? Are they not allowed to export all they wish? If so, does the Board of Trade give any guidance about where exports ought to be sent? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can find out whether there is complete freedom to use steel required for the home market. Is it used for essential industry or in frivolous ways which will not help our economy?
Some firms have been put off by the Canadian anti-monopoly laws. British glass manufacturers who secured good orders were heavily fined for infringing Canadian anti-monopoly laws. Following the debate a short time ago, perhaps new Government legislation may help in that respect. I think that Canadians are as aware as any of us that this new pattern of trade means that we cannot buy goods from their country unless we earn dollars to pay for them by goods and services to Canada. I think they are anxious to buy.
Perhaps the most condemning comment I can make is that quite recently a business man, anxious to push trade with Canada, showed me a letter from which I will quote. It said:The board has made a definite decision that they will not entertain any outlay of capital prior to the receipt of actual orders.We are never going to do trade if we sit at home and hope that orders will be sent to this country. That attitude is wrong. The Canadians are anxious to trade with us and we should be equally anxious to trade with them. I recall that the Prime 1392 Minister who served for a longer period than any other Prime Minister in the British Commonwealth, Mr. Mackenzie King, once said:It is strongly in our interests to encourage imports of British goods into Canada.That has been confirmed and reiterated by the present Canadian Minister of Commerce, who also is a good friend of our country and anxious for trade to develop. It is a fact, which I suppose we have to face, that for much of our exports we are compelled to depend on our older industries, but in that respect we have to concentrate on quality goods.
We can remind ourselves that at one time Canada took almost all her textile requirements from the United Kingdom. That is not so today. It is worth reflecting that a hundred years ago the textile industries accounted for two-thirds of our total world export trade. The pattern of trade has certainly changed. Canada is now developing her own textile and consumer goods industries and finds within her territory oil, natural gas and minerals, including uranium. Canada is seeking means of developing these resources and needs cheap power by means of hydro-electricity, thermal or atomic methods. We ought to concentrate upon seeing whether we can get into Canada's markets to sell these capital goods in greater measure than we are doing at present.
We ought also to concentrate upon making Canada entirely dependent upon us for jet engines, whether for aircraft or other processes. We should exploit the lead that we possess in this great industry. Forty years ago, nobody would have believed that the developing motor car industry would today become three times as important in world trade as railways and shipping combined. We must remember that we are entering the age of automation.
I urge the Government, therefore, to give directions to industry as a whole to concentrate upon supplying the needs of the producer. If we were to do this, the producer would come to us for the machines and equipment that he required and it would be firmly established that we were the suppliers of those needs. There is no reason why we should not play a leading part in the modern industrial development of the world as we did in the world's earlier development. We should 1393 not simply regard our trade policies as being concerned with redistributing a static or limited volume of business alone. We have the heritage of the oldest industrial nation in the world and we should exploit to the full our technical skill, our mechanical inventiveness and our experience.
It is most important that the business man should study intensively the industrial needs, tastes and preferences of buyers. He must know whether his goods are of the right kind and he should know how to make them better than his competitors. In addition, he ought to be able to gain the benefits of market research. Perhaps, in this connection, the Minister can say what the Board of Trade is doing. I recall that in 1948, when I was at the Board of Trade, we issued a handbook, "Guide to Business Men Going to Canada." I was told at the time that it was extremely useful. Is this being kept up to date? What is done about bringing home to business men, not only the need to export to Canada, but the difficulties and how they can be overcome? Perhaps the Minister will also tell us a little about the Dollar Exports Board and its counterpart, the Canadian Board. These two bodies together have done some extremely valuable work and I only hope that they are continuing to do so.
What is quite apparent, however, is that far too many of our manufacturers are busily occupied for other and easier markets. If they continue to do this, we shall not be able as a country to exist as successfully as we all wish. We should all be very alarmed at the fall in trade with Canada. Not long ago, Canada had to protest to the United States that it was restricting the import of dairy produce and other goods from Canada and was giving away to needy nations part of its surplus of dairy produce and wheat. This was damaging to the Canadian economy. I think that the United States would themselves welcome an extension of this trade. It knows that if the United Kingdom and Canada have viable economies, they are enabled fully to share common security burdens, thus relieving the United States taxpayer and strengthening Western defence.
I should like to give another set of figures to emphasise the importance of trade with Canada. In the period from 1949 to 1952, our exports to the United 1394 States were £521.2 million. Exports to Canada during the same period were 479.6 million. A rough calculation shows that on a per capita basis Canada bought ten times more than the United States. I know that it is difficult to sell to Canada but I would say that in the long-term it is the best possible market. At any rate, it is encouraging to know that if we can sell in Canada, we can sell anywhere in the world.
The Canadian market is wide open for British goods. We are all agreed upon the necessity of developing this trade. The fundamental difference between the two sides of the House is that we on this side feel that it can be achieved only by planning and economic control. We think that there should be discrimination in investment and imports and that we should concentrate upon our export trade.
I believe that as a result of my journey to Northern Ireland with two of my colleagues—the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) and the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan)—to study trade and industry, the Government contemplate appointing a well-known person to help in this direction. I ask the Government to consider one of their own friends and supporters, one who has as many ties with Canada as with this country. Let the Government ask him to take over the drive for trade with Canada, for I believe that he could do it with some measure of success. I commend to the Government the name of Lord Beaverbrook.
§ 2.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Edwards (Bilston)
In discussing the problem of trade with Canada, we have an opportunity of dwelling for a few moments on the problem that I tried to discuss this morning; namely, American investment in the British Commonwealth and Colonial Territories and, indeed, in our own country.
We are discussing the vast problem of British trade with a part of the Commonwealth which is outside the sterling area and which is rapidly coming under the control of American finance capital. I suppose that there are few countries closely linked with Britain which have greater possibility for economic development than Canada. Canada possesses coal, oil, timber and fertile lands. It is a 1395 vast area with tremendous possibilities for supplying Britain—the Metropolis—with many of the raw materials which today we import from the United States of America.
Nevertheless, it is strange but true that hon. Members opposite seem to go out of their way to encourage American investment into Canada and into its basic industries—in chemicals, in mining and in the paper and oil industries. We should not overlook the fact that, in spite of the mighty contribution made by America to the recovery of Europe and of the world, many of these investments have political commitments and economic limitations on this House, and on British industry and on the policy of the Commonwealth Governments.
Literally thousands of millions of American dollars are invested in Canada. For some reason or other, we fail to find the risk capital needed to develop the natural resources of this wealthy Dominion which is so closely linked with Britain. It seems to me that one of the major tasks of the present Government—of any British Government—is to guarantee that these vast undeveloped areas of the British Commonwealth should be developed with British capital and should not be allowed to become an extension of American monopoly finance capital.
This morning, at Question Time, I was trying to obtain from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury an estimate of how much American capital was invested in British Colonies and other territories over which we have some control. There was, however, a complete absence of information. But from a country like Canada it should be possible for us to collect information regularly about the flow there of American investment. It seems to me that we shall live to regret this attempt to encourage American capital investment in Britain, in the Commonwealth and in the Colonial Territories.
It seems to me that America is getting control of the economy and the vast natural resources of the Commonwealth and the world at a very cheap rate indeed. For example, a few years ago Australia needed dollars for capital equipment. After some discussion, 100 million dollars was made available. In Australia, however, there is a £5,000 million British investment. Yet this very small American 1396 investment gives the Americans vast political and economic control which completely overshadows the help which traditionally Britain has given to Australia and, indeed, to other countries similarly placed.
The same situation obtains in Canada. It seems to me that it is quite impossible to develop the free flow of trade between Britain and Canada while there is that regular, increasing flow of very substantial American capital investment in all the basic industries of Canada. Automatically, Canada is being closely linked with the American economy. The American tariff system makes it impossible for British industry to plan long-term trade in the American markets. If Canada becomes too closely linked with the economy of America, a similar tariff system will develop there which, with the passing of time, will make very difficult the export of British manufactured goods to Canada, and, indeed, to other important parts of the British Commonwealth.
I notice that the Minister of State, Board of Trade, who is to reply to my right hon. Friend, is looking at the clock. I do not want to be an awkward customer, so I shall conclude my remarks. I wanted only to take this opportunity to develop a small matter I tried to develop at Question Time this morning, and I hope I may be excused for having done so in a debate on Canadian trade. It is, however, closely linked with the question of American investment in the British Commonwealth.
§ 2.13 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. A. R. W. Low)
I apologise to the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. R. Edwards) if I caused him to think I wanted him to stop prematurely making his interesting speech. I am sure that he is right in pointing to the importance of investment and to the importance of American investment in Canada. I heard him develop his argument earlier today. I think that sometimes he overlooks the tremendous contribution to the development of the world and to the security of the world that has been made by American investment, especially since the war.
§ Mr. R. Edwards
No. I mentioned it.
§ Mr. Low
The way to deal with it—and I think that this is the hon. Member's 1397 point of view, too—is not to stop American investment but to increase British investment in the Commonwealth, especially in Canada. There is, of course, a great deal of British capital in Canada, and in recent years British capital has been flowing there, especially into projects which directly or indirectly might help our export trade. Certainly, we attach importance to British investment in Canada and in other parts of the Commonwealth, and if we are to invest more we have to earn more and to save more. It is with that aspect of our trade with Canada that I want to deal.
I very much welcome the debate which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley), one of my predecessors at the Board of Trade, has initiated. I also welcome the tenor of his speech. From time to time he laid emphasis, as, I am sure, he was right to do, on the importance of taking advantage of new ideas and of our skill, inventiveness, and experience. He laid emphasis, too, on the tremendous opportunities there are in that great, developing market. I shall recur to that theme, but I am sure he was right to emphasise those things.
I think that any of us who have been studying the figures of our exports to Canada in recent months must have been concerned—I certainly was concerned—at the fact that they reveal a fall in our exports last year. That concern has increased in the last few months, as the figures for the early part of 1955 show that our exports to Canada, far from recovering, have fallen still further. There was an exception in May. May was a good month, and that may be a good portent, but, owing to the interruption of our export trade by the dock strike, we cannot tell yet whether that was just a temporary improvement for one month or whether it was the start of a new trend. We have to wait and see.
The right hon. Gentleman gave us some statistics. I am sure he was right in saying what I would emphasise, that the figures and percentages we talk about draw a general picture but hide alike the fact that certain firms in certain industries have been and are still doing very well —firms dealing in chemicals, pottery, aircraft, heavy electrical plant and tractors—and the fact that certain other industries which had been doing quite 1398 well in 1952 and 1953 have, for one reason or another, lost a part of their trade. I am thinking particularly of motor cars, wool textiles and machine tools. The right hon. Gentleman said something about motor cars. Our trade to Canada in motor cars is very important and has been pushed with great skill, enthusiasm, and energy. That trade has met some difficulties in the last eighteen months, and we had made a special study of the problem, which we are considering, and which is also being considered by responsible bodies in industry.
The important statistics, I think, are these. The right hon. Gentleman was quite right to concentrate on our share of Canada's total imports. The United Kingdom's share of those imports in the last three years has been thus: in 1952 just under 9 per cent.; in 1953 it rose to 10.3 per cent.; in 1954 it began to fall and went down to 9.6 per cent.; for the first quarter of this year, the latest period for which we have the figures for Canadian trade, it fell still further to 8.6 per cent.
It would appear from studying the figures that in recent months it has been the United States which has been gaining from us, and, indeed, from other countries, too, but last year it was the Germans and not the Americans—Germany and some other countries—who gained the part of the market that we lost. Those are the first statistics.
The second are of United Kingdom exports to Canada as a percentage of total United Kingdom exports. They are interesting figures at a time when our exports have been rising generally. In 1953, the percentage was 6.1, but by 1954, when, of course, total exports had risen and were considerably higher than those for 1953, the percentage was 4.9. For the first half of 1955 the percentage has fallen still further to 4.4. Other statistics concern engineering exports, which are so important to the total volume of our exports to the world as a whole. Taking engineering exports to Canada separately, we find that our share of Canada's total imports of engineering goods, other than non-ferrous products, was 10.5 per cent. in 1953 and had fallen to 6.8 per cent. in the first quarter of 1955. That is an important and rather disquieting fall.
1399 There is, however, one important fact to be borne in mind when we consider the statistics. It is the recession which took place in Canada and the United States last year. That in Canada particularly affected our two major exports to her—wool textiles and motor cars. Because it affected those things particularly and they are major exports it has, of course, affected the percentages in the statistics. Canada is now coming out of that recession and we hope that as the months go on we shall recover and indeed further increase our trade with Canada in these important products. The recession in the United States also had an effect on our position in the Canadian market, United States manufactures being pushed on the Canadian market at shorter delivery dates and lower prices than normal. That factor, too, is no longer present.
A disquieting conclusion which one must draw from the statistics and the facts that I have mentioned is that our share of the Canadian market has become smaller and our total exports to Canada have dropped during a period when production at home in Britain was rising and our exports generally were rising. There is the further point that our exports have not yet recovered this year as Canadian demand has increased. The right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham was quite right in stressing the reasons for the importance of our trade with Canada. It cannot be overemphasised. By it we earn dollars to pay for the food and raw materials which we must obtain from Canada and, as the right hon. Gentleman said, our economies are complementary.
The fact that Canada is the senior member of the Commonwealth next to us has always, and surely will always, encourage trade between us both ways. The Canadian market is important in another way, to which the right hon. Member referred. It is certainly a highly competitive market, but it is a market that is not ringed round with quota restrictions, or with fears of quota restrictions, or with very high tariffs, and everyone knows of the new opportunities for expansion which are opening up almost every month there.
I said that it was a highly competitive market. The main competition comes from the United States and from growing Canadian industries, too, but there 1400 are many examples in recent years, and indeed in recent months, of British firms, large and small, meeting this competition and winning through. Success certainly may take time, as it does in a competitive market. It may involve alteration in design, new advertising and sales promotion methods, and even new methods of distribution. It almost certainly will involve personal attention from top management and even chairmen themselves. But there is no doubt that, as several firms have found, all this effort is very well worth while not only in the broad national interest but even in the individual interest of the firm concerned
The best chance, of course, is in quality goods, in goods which reflect the skill and inventiveness of this island. There is also a fine chance for new ideas. I was glad that the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham referred to the raspberry man. We have heard from the raspberry man and we are now trying to help. The Canadians also recognise that our exports are important to them. They realise that the sales of agricultural products, raw materials, and canned fish and other things which they wish to sell to us can be paid for only if we earn dollars from them and from other places in the dollar area.
In recent years our exports to Canada have earned only about half of our imports from Canada. It would be wrong indeed impracticable, to consider operating our trade with Canada on a narrow bilateral basis. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman was advocating that. He said that the triangular pattern of trade had gone. I think that it was more quadrilateral. I very much doubt whether it has gone altogether, though certainly it has been affected by changes in recent years. Canada is part of the dollar area and our imports from that country are financed by earning dollars or gold not just from Canada but from other countries as well, and by what other countries in the sterling area may also earn. Though it would be quite wrong to be narrowly bilateral it must be remembered that the more we sell to Canada the more we can afford to buy from her. That is a point on which we are in complete agreement.
That is the general position. What can the Government do? First, there is 1401 general economic policy. We have discussed in the House the importance to our exports generally of the general economic climate and I have nothing to add to what has been said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and others in our debates. Obviously that is particularly important to exports to competitive markets like Canada. Then there is our general trade and commercial policy and its effect upon our trade with Canada. Our general approach to the search for greater freedom of trade and payments in the world is an approach in which we are in complete agreement with the Government of Canada.
I should have thought that that policy clearly helps and does not hinder British exports to Canada. I thought that the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham was digging around at the end of his speech for a point on which he could disagree with this side of the House. He pointed to the importance of controls, but I cannot see how controls can help our exports to Canada and I think that it is a very good thing that we share with the Canadian Government a desire to see a freer system of trade and payments throughout the world.
There is also the point about the import restrictions which we have had to impose on dollar goods, including Canadian goods, for reasons of balance of payments. There have been important relaxations even in the last year. These have helped our economy generally, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer explained in the course of his speech on Tuesday, and, of course, we are anxious to help our Canadian friends, as soon as we can afford to do so, to increase their exports to us. Obviously, we cannot go too far or too fast in view of the balance of payments position between ourselves and the dollar area.
The third point, on which I want to concentrate, relates to information. Are we doing all we can to ensure, on the one hand, that Canadian business men are aware of the goods which Britain can supply and to ensure, on the other hand, that British business men are aware of the opportunities that are open to them in Canada? What can be done?
First, there is the Trade Commissioner service, about which the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham knows as much as I do. In Canada, that service has recently been reinforced. In 1402 the last year, four new posts have been established and I am sure that that will help. In addition, we are establishing two new information posts in Montreal and Toronto in the near future. A constant stream of information about markets goes out from the Board of Trade and we have made special arrangements recently for our regional controllers in the provinces to pay particular attention to Canada. There are also arrangements, when the Trade Commissioners come back from Canada on leave or on duty, to make visits to important centres of industry in the United Kingdom. The right hon. Gentleman asked me about the handbook. He will be glad to hear it has been brought up to date and a new edition has recently been published.
I regard the provision of information as one of the best ways in which we in the Government can help in this problem. It is not only a question of disseminating information, but trying to ensure that we have the right information and the latest news about problems facing British manufacturers selling in Canada. With this in mind I have been in contact with the Commercial Counsellor in London and the Agents General of the Canadian Provinces and have discussed the matter with some Canadian business men who have been making visits here. The right hon. Gentleman quoted a case where he had a talk with a Canadian business man at lunch and found it valuable. I am sure that that sort of thing is valuable to all of us.
He asked me about the Dollar Exports Council and that is a most important body which can and does do so much to help in this matter. It has a new plan to boost interest in British industry in Canada, and work will be started on the new plan shortly after the summer holidays. It is a most valuable body and it owes much for its effectiveness to the energy, inspiration and great experience of the Chairman, Sir William Rootes. Without making comparisons which might be odious I do not think that we need call upon Lord Beaverbrook in this matter. We are very fortunate to have Sir William Rootes, with his knowledge of selling all over the world and his particular knowledge of the dollar market. I know that he and his colleagues are enthusiastic believers in the importance of trade with Canada and will help us spread 1403 that enthusiasm through the trade associations down to the individual firms.
They have been doing a lot of things. They have been arranging missions and others have been appointed without their initiative. Important missions have come from Canadian industry to make purchases here, like that from the Vancouver Board of Trade to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. These are very valuable things, and so is the counterpart of British business men going to Canada, because that is the best way of finding out what opportunity there is in Canada. Anything we can do to encourage visits by British business men we will do.
There are also visits by British Ministers. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade made an important visit last year. It was well worth while and most valuable. I am sure there will be other visits, and I believe I am right in saying that the right hon. Gentleman himself is making a visit in December. I am sure he will help in this matter by his knowledge of the problems.
We also depend on the Press for ensuring that there is a wide coverage of important news and views about what is going on in Canadian industry. Good reports by reliable reporters can be every bit as valuable from day to day as the special reports which we try to disseminate.
The right hon. Gentleman mentioned export credits. I think he is aware that we do provide special facilities for those who wish to start up anew in Canada. E.C.G.D. provide insurance against losses which may arise at any time in connection with an exporter's entry into dollar markets and insurance against risks at the stages of exploring the market, developing it, servicing it and supplying it. I would advise any exporter trying to get into the Canadian market to find 1404 out about the services E.C.G.D. can offer either from the Department Headquarters in London or from any of its twelve branches in the provinces.
Those are some of the things that the Government can do. We are certainly enthusiastic to help in any way we can, but, of course, ultimately it is for the British industrialist, the individual manufacturer or the trader to get into the market, see what it is like, work out a plan, and make it a success. There have been some successes. I have reminded the House of some of the individual successes by manufacturers. I have got in mind the contract for a submarine cable which is to be laid between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, a unique engineering feat. I met a man the other day from Canada who came here to see how things were going on about that and he was very pleased at what had been done.
Then, of course, there is the great success of our aircraft industry. It is good to know that both the main Canadian airlines are ordering new British planes. In the electrical plant field there are several cases of recent contracts won by British industry against fierce competition, one of the most important being the transformers for the new Niagara power station. Last, but by no means least, there are the very valuable contracts which have been obtained recently by civil engineering contractors amounting to more than 20 million dollars worth last year. As well as the big firms there are the small firms, and we must not overlook their success. We would not do so if we visited the stores in Canadian cities.
That is the position and I see no reason to be gloomy. I see every reason to stress the importance from the nation's point of view and from industry's point of view, of this expanding market, a market in which, as I have said, there is no fear of import restrictions.