HC Deb 07 June 1976 vol 912 cc907-8
20. Mr. Jay

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the visible trade balance of the United Kingdom with the other members of the EEC in 1976 up to the latest date for which figures are available.

Mr. Dell

In the first quarter of 1976 there was a visible trade deficit with the EEC of £392 million, seasonally adjusted on a balance of payments basis.

Mr. Jay

Does my right hon. Friend think that our trade with the other members of the European Community this year has been of help in strengthening the £ sterling?

Mr. Dell

I am glad to say that what is of use to the value of the £ sterling is that our trade with the EEC, as with other destinations of our exports, has been improving. There is, for example, the figure I gave my right hon. Friend earlier which was £163 million less than for the fourth quarter of 1975. Further, the three months to April show an accrued deficit with the EEC which again is down as compared with the preceding three months. I am sure that these are all points that my right hon. Friend will welcome.

Mr. Marten

Will not the new arrangements for monetary compensatory amounts make quite a difference to the trade figures?

Mr. Dell

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the arrangements about monetary compensatory amounts are at the moment assisting with the cost of living in Britain.

Mr. Skinner

In order to make a valid comparison, and to establish clearly the absence of any seasonal fluctuation, will my right hon. Friend give the figures for the comparable quarter as distinct from the quarter he referred to, which was the one immediately preceding?

Mr. Dell

The figure I gave was seasonally adjusted.