HC Deb 17 May 1960 vol 623 cc1067-9
1. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT an extension of the figures contained in Table 18 of his

(percentage share in brackets)
£ million
1938 1950 1955
United Kingdom 354 (22.1) 1,828 (25.6) 2,388 (19.7)
Germany, F.R.2 363 (22.7) 521 (7.3) 1,875 (15.4)
France 104 (6.5) 709 (9.9) 1,128 (9.3)
Italy 46 (2.8) 276 (3.9) 410 (3.4)
Netherlands 50 (3.1) 218 (3.0) 464 (3.8)
United States3 320 (20.1) 1,951 (27.3) 2,972 (24.5)
Japan 105 (6.6) 246 (3.4) 624 (5.1)
1Exports from the countries shown of goods in Section 5 to 8 of the Standard International Trade Classification.
2A11 Germany pre-war.
3Excluding exports of Special Category goods in post-war years.

Report on Overseas Trade, Vol. XI, No. 4, which relate to exports of manufactures from the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States of America and Japan, so as to cover the years 1900, 1925, 1935, 1950 and 1955.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Reginald Maudling)

Figures of world trade in manufactures in 1938, 1950 and 1955 will be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Those for certain earlier periods have been estimated unofficially and published in The Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies for September, 1951.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman convey to the statistical department and those who prepare the Board of Trade Journal our appreciation of the continuance and improvement of the information provided? Has he seen the publications issued by the G.E.C. and the recent supplement published by Barclays Bank on these matters, and will he consider further improvements in order that greater interest in exports may be stimulated?

Mr. Maudling

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he says about the statistical work of the Board of Trade. What is done there is extremely good, and it is only too seldom that those concerned are told so in public. We are glad at any time to consider possible improvements.

Following is the information:

2. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will invite to a meeting the firms in each industry which are engaged in the manufacture of our principal exports, and ask for their proposals on how to bring about a large increase in exports, the pooling of resources, the formation of central, economic and marketing research for each export industry and the formation of industrial consortia in order to assist in a greatly increased export trade.

Mr. Maudling

The Minister of State, who devotes the greater part of his time to export promotion, is holding a series of meetings with representatives of industries to consider what more can be done by industry and by Government to increase our exports. Whether the specific measures the hon. Member suggests would benefit exports depends on the particular circumstances.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Contained in the Question are certain constructive suggestions. If the President of the Board of Trade cannot accept them, will he consider working out some of his own so that we may make preparations for the great effort which will be required in the struggle for world markets in the future?

Mr. Mandling

I share the hon. Gentleman's concern about the importance of our export trade, but the Minister of State is having a series of meetings with individual industries about export problems. Suggestions of the sort contained in the hon. Gentleman's Question will certainly come up for consideration in the course of discussions.

Mr. C. Osborne

In the drive for exports, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it is dangerous to encourage the sale of our exports more cheaply abroad than at home because, in the long run, we lose if we sell too low abroad in order merely to increase exports?

Mr. Mandling

The practice to which my hon. Friend refers sounds very much like dumping, which, of course, is very reprehensible, but I think that in many trades the practice of selling abroad below the home market price is fairly prevalent and it is difficult for us to fail to take part in the same practice, although I quite see the point made by my hon. Friend.