HC Deb 18 June 1969 vol 785 cc464-5
18. Mr. Silvester

asked the President of the Board of Trade what studies he has made or has in progress of the relative profitability of home and export sales; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Dell

Sample inquiries carried out in 1967 and 1968 indicated a wide range of experience of relative profitability, and I hope it will be possible to publish the results soon. For the samples, average levels of export profit rates were lower than for home sales before devaluation, but the gap was narrowed in 1968.

Mr. Silvester

Would not the Minister agree that there is something in the argument of Mr. Tessler of The Times that some firms which regard exports as unprofitable are not making a proper analysis of the relevant costs as between home and export sales? Will the report, when published, cover this point?

Mr. Dell

Mr. Tessler's views may be correct concerning a number of firms. I cannot say whether the report, when published, will cover this point, but it is very important that in costing the profitability of exports firms should do the job properly.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Would the Minister say why those studies do not include the very promising opportunities between North-East Scotland and Scandinavia? Will he take those into account at an early date?

Mr. Dell

I think that those opportunities are well known, but the report will cover the relative profitability of home and export sales.

Mr. Higgins

Does the hon. Gentleman deny that the Government's own actions since devaluation have virtually eroded any increased profitability which might have arisen from it? If he does, will he publish the Government's estimates of how much their various measures have produced profitability on export sales?

Mr. Dell

I do deny it. My right hon. Friend only recently stated in the House his current estimate of the continuing advantage of devaluation price-wise.

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