§ 8. Mr. Blaker
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement about Anglo-Polish trade.
§ 13. Mr. Tim Renton
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what calculations his Department has made of the long-term effect on the British balance of payments of the recent shipbuilding deal with Poland.
§ Mr. Dell
Poland is our second most important export market in Eastern Europe with a consistently favourable trade balance to the United Kingdom. Trade has continued to expand during 1977.
No detailed calculations have been made by my Department on the overall effect of the shipbuilding deal on the balance of payments, but I would expect it to be positive.
§ Mr. Blaker
Does the Secretary of State accept that he is responsible for looking after the interests of British shipping lines? Are not their interests and those of the people who work for them likely to be affected adversely by the proposed British-Polish shipbuilding deal? 9 In view of the practice of Communist countries of competing at unfair rates, and of the large subsidies which the British taxpayers will apparently have to pay towards the construction of the ships, what provision will there be that they will not compete in the cross-shipping trade between third countries?
§ Mr. Higgins
How many British cars have been exported to Poland, compared with the number of Polish cars imported into this country? What barriers are there to the export of British cars to Poland?
§ Sir J. Langford-Holt
Has the right hon. Gentleman received any undertaking that the Polish Government will not do with the ships precisely what the Soviet Government are doing with theirs?
§ Mr. Parkinson
Can the Secretary of State tell us at what stage he was brought into the negotiations and whether, in fact, he was ever consulted about the terms before the Prime Minister's statement to the Labour Party Conference?
§ Mr. Renton
Will the Secretary of State confirm whether ECGD was forced to increase its limit per country vis-á-vis Poland in order to accommodate the shipping contract? Has ECGD gone beyond the normal, prudent, commercial insurance limit for the contract to be taken on?