§ The President of the Board of Trade (Sir David Eccles)
We have given wide circulation to the Soviet purchasing programme, which includes machine tools, and we are now discussing with a team of Soviet representatives detailed arrangements which I hope will include machine tools.
§ Mr. Albu
Can the President of the Board of Trade explain how it is that in the first five months of this year exports of machine tools to the Soviet Union fell from a level last year of nearly £64,000 to a level this year of just over £7,500? Can he say whether that is due to lack of initiative on the part of firms exporting to the Soviet Union or because their designs are not sufficiently advanced? Can he also tell the House what Mr. Khrushchev said to the three representatives of the industry who lunched or dined with him in Leipzig during the Fair?
§ Sir D. Eccles
I cannot answer the last part of that supplementary question, but I can tell the hon. Member that the Soviet authorities appeared in Moscow 1554 very ready greatly to increase their purchases of machine tools, and this is one of the subjects which the delegation is now discussing with the Board of Trade.