HC Deb 14 July 1980 vol 988 c1034
6. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Trade by how much United Kingdom exports to the European Economic Community grew in the most recent year for which figures are available; and how this compares with British exports to the rest of the world.

Mr. Parkinson

In 1979 the value of United Kingdom exports to the European Community increased by 30 per cent. compared with a rise of 8 per cent. in shipments to the rest of the world.

Mr. Knox

Do not those figures indicate how beneficial it is to the United Kingdom to be a member of the EEC? Will my hon. Friend say by how much British exports to the EEC have risen since Britain joined the Community in 1973?

Mr. Parkinson

If my hon. Friend tables a question about exports to the EEC, I shall give him the exact answer, but he is right. The Community is by far and away our greatest market. It represents 45 per cent. of all our exports. Those who argue against our membership should remember that they are arguing for raising tariff barriers against countries with which we do 45 per cent. of our trade.

Mr. Jay

Do the figures include oil?

Mr. Parkinson

Yes, they do. I shall tell the right hon. Gentleman what the increase would be without oil. If we exclude oil, our exports last year to the EEC increased by 22 per cent. and to the rest of the world by 5½ per cent.