HC Deb 08 February 1971 vol 811 cc14-5
21 and 22. Sir A. Meyer

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will give the latest available details of the growth, since 1958, of United Kingdom exports to the European Economic Community;

(2) if he will give the latest available details of the growth of intra-European Economic Community trade since 1958.

Mr. Noble

United Kingdom exports to the European Economic Community measured by their dollar value grew by 91 per cent. per annum between 1958 and 1969, and by 15 per cent. in 1970. E.E.C. intra-trade similarly measured increased by 161 per cent. per annum between 1958 and 1969 and by 20 per cent. between the first nine months of 1969 and 1970.

Sir A. Meyer

I am obliged for that answer. Would my hon. Friend agree that the contrast between those two sets of figures shows how desirable it is for Britain to be part of the duty-free trade area represented by the E.E.C. since this would enable our overseas trade to grow much more rapidly than at present?

Mr. Noble

I can at least agree with my hon. Friend that trade with the E.E.C. countries has shown a very valuable increase in this period.

Mr. Raphael Tuck

On the contrary, are we not getting on very well with the Common Market without entering the Common Market?

Mr. Noble

Although that could be adduced from the figures I have suggested, there is no doubt that by reducing tariff barriers we might well do a great deal better.

Mr. Body

Would my hon. Friend not agree that by this time next year tariff barriers will be reduced by, on average, 7.6 per cent.? Will there not then be still greater prospects for the extension of imports to the E.E.C.?

Mr. Noble

We are getting into deep hypothetical waters. There is no doubt, on the evidence in regard to increased trade, that if we were to achieve entry, trade would increase considerably faster.

39. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment is being made in his Department of the effect of Great Britain's entry into the Common Market on the economy of India.

Mr. Noble

We cannot make a reliable estimate of the effect which British entry into the E.E.C. would have on the Indian economy. However, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster informed the House on 4th February, it was agreed at the Ministerial Meeting in Brussels last week that the enlarged Community would be ready to examine any problems which arose for Asian Commonwealth countries in the field of trade with a view to reaching appropriate solutions.

Mrs. Short

But in all the statements from the Government Front Bench about the Commonwealth, emphasis is always given to the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement, which does not affect India. Will the right hon. Gentleman look carefully at this matter and ask his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister what Mrs. Gandhi said to him when he saw her in Delhi recently?

Mr. Noble

I can assure the hon. Lady that though the key Commonwealth questions may be sugar from the Caribbean and dairy products from New Zealand, the particular interests of Asian countries have never been overlooked. As my right hon. Friend told the House only last week, if there should be problems the E.E.C. has agreed to examine them with great care.