HC Deb 21 July 1960 vol 627 cc724-6
43. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Prime Minister, now that he has initiated a campaign to stimulate exports and appealed to British firms for more vigorous salesmanship, what further Government measures he contemplates; and if he will make a statement.

44. Mr. Boyden

asked the Prime Minister why the coal exporting organisations were not invited on 19th July to the official conference addressed by him on the subject of encouraging British exports.

The Prime Minister

The meeting which I addressed on 18th July was in fact organised by the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of British Industries and the National Union of Manufacturers, who were responsible for sending out invitations. My colleagues will be reaching many other audiences representative of the country's industrial and commercial enterprises at meetings throughout the country. Our objects are to encourage our exporters, to ask those who are exporting successfully to persuade others to do likewise, to draw attention to the need for vigorous salesmanship, and to make better known the Government's services to help exporters. Discussions are taking place with many trade associations and my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade is seeing representatives of the British Coal Exporters' Federation early next week.

Mr. Shinwell

While exhortations to industrialists to export more of our goods to other countries may achieve a certain measure of success, does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that some further facilities and incentives are necessary? Will he not consider, for example, whether facilities such as those which we provide in the development districts to industrial undertakings could be provided for industrialists for the purpose of stimulating exports?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. All these questions are being studied. I would issue just this warning—that, as a great exporting country, it is, I think, not in our interest to start or stimulate a kind of rivalry or competition which might be injurious to us if it were widely spread among other countries.

Mr. Boyden

In future will the Prime Minister and his colleagues take a more lively and sympathetic interest in the problems of the coal export trade?

The Prime Minister

The Question asked why I addressed certain groups. It was because they were organised into these associations. The next stage is to deal with the particular trade associations of each trade separately, and that is what my right hon. Friend is doing.

Mr. C. Osborne

Did my right hon. Friend see the excellent letter in The Times today from a small exporter showing the innumerable forms which have to be filled in by a small exporter and which it is often beyond his clerical capacity to do? Can he do something to reduce the number of forms which are required and to encourage the little man to come into this export drive?

The Prime Minister

I saw this letter. I have asked how far any simplification can be made and how far these forms are necessary to meet the demands of other countries and to make sure that our exports reach their destination.

Mr. de Freitas

Is the Prime Minister aware that in Lincoln the Government asked the Institute of Directors to organise the meeting to be addressed by a Minister? Would it not be wiser to use reputable organisations such as those which he mentioned—for instance, the F.B.I. and the chambers of commerce—rather than to identify the campaign with this party political institute which boasts of the amount of money it spent on Conservative Party propaganda?

The Prime Minister

The first question suggested that my selection was too narrow. Now I am being blamed because it is too wide.