HC Deb 18 June 1969 vol 785 c473
51. Mr. Shinwell

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he has taken to correct the balance of payments between the United Kingdom and Canada.

Mr. Crosland

Although we do not aim at an exact balance of trade with individual countries, it is our continuing object, through the Government export services and in conjunction with B.N.E.C., to give all possible assistance to British exporters to exploit the opportunities of this important and expanding market.

Mr. Shinwell

Does not my right hon. Friend find it extraordinary that the Commonwealth country of Canada is making large purchases from the United States and elsewhere? Cannot Canada make more purchases from this country to help our balance of payments, otherwise what is the point of Canada remaining in the Commonwealth?

Mr. Crosland

The last part of my right hon. Friend's supplementary question raises rather wider issues. Of course we are extremely anxious to increase our exports to Canada, but I must insist that it would make no sense for this country to aim at an exact balance of trade with every country. Our imports from Canada are mostly of wheat and essential raw materials, and there is no reason why we should have an exact balance of trade with Canada or any other country.