HC Deb 14 December 1965 vol 722 cc1074-5
32. Mr. Sheldon

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking to reduce the balance of payments deficit with the United States of America and Canada.

Mr. Callaghan

I take it that my hon. Friend is referring to the deficit on trade. Particular efforts are being made to increase exports to North America, which I am glad to say have risen this year by 15 per cent.

Mr. Sheldon

Is the Chancellor aware that during his visit to Moscow the Foreign Secretary drew attention to the £30 million imbalance of trade, and will he consider that now is the time to use our £400 million deficit with the North American Continent as a means of bargaining for rather betters terms than we have so far achieved in our balance of payments?

Mr. Callaghan

This is a constant preoccupation of mine. I think that the most important thing to do is to lower the barriers of trade so that we can improve our exports to the United States. This is what we are constantly trying to do.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Would not the Chancellor agree that the decision to exercise the Government's option to purchase the F111 will vastly increase the present deficit to the United States?

Mr. Callaghan

No, it does not necessarily follow. It depends partly on the amount of imports that one has to use in any home-produced equivalent.