HC Deb 23 March 1961 vol 637 cc561-2
21. Sir H. Legge-Bourke

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to improve the unfavourable balance of trade with Poland, especially in view of the fact that the value of meat, butter and dairy products imported from Poland exceeds that of all imports into Poland from the United Kingdom.

Mr. Maudling

The unfavourable balance of trade to which my hon. Friend refers is one element in a payments position with Poland which is in favour of the sterling area as a whole and it would not be in our interests to try to balance our visible trade with Poland while ignoring other relevant factors.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Does not my right hon. Friend realise that the total value of British exports taken up by Poland is only just over £12 million, whereas the total value of agricultural imports, particularly meat and dairy products—largely pigs and pork—exceeds £18 million? When we are having to put up the guaranteed price for British producers in the Annual Price Review, does this make sense?

Mr. Maudling

Visible exports are only part of the story. There are many invisibles, such as freight, insurance and debt repayments from Poland to the United Kingdom. Poland is short of sterling and uses currency obtained from trade with other countries to buy sterling to purchase within the sterling area.

Forward to