HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc16-7
19. Mr. Peter Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his estimate of the likely course of trade between the United Kingdom and the United States of America in 1972.

Mr. John Davies

Economic expansion in both countries and the settlement of exchange parities should lead to continued growth in United Kingdom exports to and imports from the United States.

Mr. Blaker

Is it not a fact that the United States is regularly in surplus on its visible trade with this country, as with the rest of the world? Is my right hon. Friend aware that in spite of that fact there are proposals before the United States Congress in at least two Bills which would further cut down exports to the United States from the rest of the world? Does not my right hon. Friend agree that if the proposals were passed in their present form they would have an adverse effect on world trade, with consequent bad effects for everybody, including the United States?

Mr. Davies

As regards the general question of balance of trade, my hon. Friend will of course be aware that in the last year trade between the two countries was virtually in balance, with a slight margin of advantage lying with us, if anything. On the specific question, the two Bills to which he is referring are the Dent and Hartke-Burke Bills, either one of which would constitute a very grave setback to the cause of the development of world trade. For these reasons I shall be watching the progress of these Bills very attentively and will take such action as seems necessary if they seem likely to be passed.