HC Deb 10 February 1959 vol 599 cc991-2
29. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on British experience in negotiating orders in China, and on the future prospects of trade with China.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. John Rodgers)

The experience of United Kingdom exporters has been generally good. Our exports to China increased by 120 per cent. in 1958, as compared with 1957, and I hope that they will continue at a high level.

Mr. Ellis Smith

While acknowledging that encouraging reply, may I ask if the Parliamentary Secretary agrees that, economically, China is hardly scratched yet; and, in view of the enormous good will which there is in China for Britain, and especially for our engineering products, will he consult his right hon. Friend with a view to taking further and more urgent action?

Mr. Rodgers

We should be very happy to take any steps we can to promote trade between the two countries. Perhaps it would interest the hon. Gentleman to know that the Federation of British Industries is hoping to stage an exhibition of British goods in Peking in the spring of 1960, but that the project, which has our support, is being held up because the Chinese have not yet given permission for the representatives of the organisers to go to Peking.