HC Deb 04 March 1965 vol 707 cc1495-7
3 and 4. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what specific steps he is taking at the present time to promote increased trade with Mexico;

(2) what specific steps he is taking at the present time to promote increased trade with Brazil.

65. Mr. Dell

asked the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has for the promotion of increased trade with Mexico.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Edward Redhead)

I would refer the hon. Members to the Answer which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Battersea, South (Mr. Perry) on 1st February. He is in touch with the British National Export Council and the Committee for Exports to Latin America about the best way of putting these measures into effect in Mexico and Brazil.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

While Mexico is a successful market at the moment,

North-East ended at Newcastle-on-Tyne whereas it goes up past Aberdeen? Will he take steps to encourage trade expansion, advance factories and better communications between the north-east of Scotland and the north of Europe, which has great potentialities for trade?

Mr. Jay

I am sure that as long as the Labour Government remain in power and my hon. and learned Friend represents Aberdeen nobody will overlook Aberdeen.

Following is the information:

in which we ought to reinforce success, would the Minister consider in the case of Brazil that we have a very adverse balance of trade, something in the relation of £12 million to £30 million? We buy enormous quantities from Brazil and should not this fact be used to bring pressure to bear on her to use some of her sterling with which to purchase something from this country?

Mr. Redhead

The hon. Gentleman is correct in saying that Brazil represents a difficulty from the point of view of the United Kingdom, inasmuch as it suffers considerably from balance of payments difficulties, which make it necessary for the country to control severely most kinds of imports. I think that it would be unrealistic to suggest that there is any early prospect of improvements in this regard, but we shall explore every possibility of seeking to maintain the existing level of trade.

Mr. Dell

Is the Minister aware that our exports to both these countries are negligible and that other important industrial exporting countries have taken a very different view of the possibilities of Brazil? Will he take another look at this matter to see whether the Government are doing everything they can to encourage exports to both countries?

Mr. Redhead

I do not agree that the position in respect of Mexico is as grim as that of Brazil. There has been a significant and welcome improvement in trade with Mexico, but in regard to both countries, as I indicated in my original reply, my right hon. Friend is seeking the advice of the Committee for Exports to Latin America as to the best ways of promoting trade.

Mr. John Hall

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that there are great opportunities in Brazil, which, as his hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Dell) has pointed out, are being made much of by other countries? What conversations are taking place between this Government and the Government of Brazil to help us overcome some of the problems which restrict the free movement of trade between the two countries?

Mr. Redhead

At the moment, we are leaving it to the Committee for Exports to come up with proposals which we hope w ill be helpful in this connection. Any feasible prospect which it presents to us will be followed energetically.