HC Deb 01 February 1967 vol 740 cc499-500
36. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the President of the Board of Trade in view of the fact that imports to Great Britain from Japan rose in November, 1966, to nearly £7 million, what steps he has taken and plans to take to increase Great Britain's exports to the Far East, including Japan.

Mr. Jay

It was exports to Japan—not imports from Japan—that nearly reached the record level of £7 million in November. We hope that there will be continued stimulus to our exports to this important market through the efforts of the B.N.E.C. and the Government's services to exporters.

Mr. Hughes

I thank my right hon. Friend for what he has said on this issue, but may I ask him to realise that there is a disastrous imbalance between imports and exports between Aberdeen and the Far East; and will he take steps to rectify this?

Mr. Jay

The imbalance between the whole of the United Kingdom and Japan in this matter is far from disastrous. The remarkable fact is that our exports to Japan increased last year by 28 per cent. while our imports actually fell.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

While it is obvious that we want to do as much trade as possible with Japan, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to take into consideration the fact that motor imports into this country from Japan may increase very substantially in the coming year? Would it not be desirable to find more exports which we can send to Japan?

Mr. Jay

We are extremely careful in our periodic trade negotiations with Japan to see that a fair balance applies to both sides.

Mr. Ridsdale

While there may be an imbalance with Japan, would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the imbalance with the Soviet Union is much more serious—£118 million imports and only £45 million exports?

Mr. Jay

I agree, and only recently I again drew this to the attention of the Soviet authorities. We expect to see a much higher level of purchases from now on by the Soviet Government from this country.

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